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5 reasons why the UK must be tougher on alcohol

Posted on July 29, 2015

5 reasons why the UK must be tougher on alcohol

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development wants the UK to implement tougher measures on alcohol to tackle high rates of consumption.

The findings of a recent OECD shows that almost one in five women from the highest educated groups drink to hazardous levels compared with one in 10 among the least educated group.

The OECD findings also show that there appears to have been a rise in youth drinking. The proportion of 15-year-olds who had experience of alcohol rose from 71% to 75% from 2002 to 2010 – although there are signs that this has recently fallen.

Here are 5 reasons why the UK must be tougher on alcohol consumption: 

Binge drinking

A recent report by the World Health Organisation shows that 28 per cent of Britons were classed as having had an episode of heavy drinking in the previous month – almost twice as much as the global average, of 16 per cent.

Out of the 96 countries examined the UK is 13th highest for heavy drinking which is worse than countries such as Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus and Hungary.

For overall alcohol consumption, Britain was the 25th highest.  The research found, above that of Bulgaria and Kazakhstan and far higher than the global average of 16 per cent.

Health issues

Drinking too much alcohol can cause a number of health problems, including, high blood pressure (hypertension), alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis of the liver. It can also lead to destructive behaviours, such as drink driving and crime as well as mental health problems.

Drink driving

UK Drink Driving statistics show that on average 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink-drive collisions. Approximately one in six of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.

Drinking and driving occur across a wide range of age groups but is more common in young men aged 17-29 in both casualties and positive breath tests following a collision. The Government’s drink-drive campaigns aim to target this group.  


The Home Office said that the number of crimes committed under the influence of alcohol is rising steadily. In 2014, almost half of all violent crimes were thought to have involved alcohol.

Additionally, just less than 40 per cent of all domestic violence was attributed to drunkenness and research by the British Medical Association suggests that between 60 and 70 per cent of all murders were committed by those under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol is a drug that impairs judgement and is used by many people as mood-enhancer when they are feeling down or depressed.

Emotions, such as happiness, sadness, or anger, often increase when drinking alcohol. The reason for this is because alcohol, can lead people to give vent to their emotions either positively, or in many cases angry and violently.

Cost of treatment

Alcohol misuse has long been seen as a public health challenge; one that affects thousands of individuals, families and communities across the country and costs the NHS an estimated £3.5bn each year.

Go to see your GP or book yourself into a clinic or join an alcohol support group if you think you have a drinking problem.

They’ll be able to give you information and advice and, if necessary, refer you for further specialist help and support.

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