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Alcohol in the News

The Daily Mail 10.02.06

British women die before their time

British women die younger than those in almost every other European country, according to new figures…Smoking and binge drinking are having a devastating effect on British women’s health. Research by Oxford University scientists last year found that deaths caused by drinking among men and women had trebled in 20 years…

The Independent 10.02.06

Low-alcohol Guinness for ‘new Ireland’

The new, faster-paced lifestyle of the Irish has led Guinness to experiment with a new reduced-strength pint of its famous stout.

The company promises that the new tipple, called Guinness Mid-Strength, is identical in every way to traditional Guinness, except that its alcohol content is significantly lower – 2.8 per cent rather than the regular 4.2 per cent.

Belfast Telegraph 09.02.06

Alcohol and drugs top list of parents’ worries

Binge drinking and drugs have overtaken the Troubles as the number one concern of parents in Northern Ireland. According to a survey by NI4Kids newspaper, over 40% of Ulster parents worry about how binge drinking will affect their children’s future, while almost a third are concerned about drugs. This was almost double the amount of parents who cited peace and stability in Northern Ireland as a cause for concern regarding their children’s future.

The Telegraph 05.02.06

Goodbye, Animal House: fraternity drinking has to stop, say colleges

Celebrated in film in Animal House and in person by George W Bush, the drink-fuelled excesses of life in fraternity houses have long been regarded as a rite of passage for young American men…However, college authorities are cracking down on the traditional American ritual of campus drinking binges after a series of alcohol-related deaths, accidents and fights…

The Independent 31.01.06

Are you a risky drinker?

So you like a glass or two – sometimes a few too many. You could be on the brink of an alcohol problem. But changing your habits can be easier than it sounds, says Hugh Wilson.

My name is Hugh, and I am a risky drinker. There are those who need a drink in the morning to ward off the worst effects of last night’s hangover, and there are those who never drink beyond recommended limits. Between them lies a grey area, occupied – according to recent reports – by anywhere between a quarter and a third of us. We are not dependent on alcohol, we don’t use it as an excuse to fight or thieve, and we can take a few weeks off in January. Our drinking doesn’t obviously affect our jobs or private lives, and many of us have no idea that our relationship with alcohol is in any way problematic. Nevertheless, in the terminology of the current alcohol panic, we are “risky” drinkers…

The Times 29.01.06

Scottish teen girls top the booze league

SCOTTISH teenage girls are the heaviest drinking in the world, according to an international study which reveals that, by the age of 15, more than a third are drinking spirits at least once a week. English girls and boys drink more spirits than their peers in any of the 35 countries surveyed, up to the age of 15. At that stage girls are marginally eclipsed by Scots and boys by Maltese.

The Yorkshire Post 20.01.06

Why drinking is everybody’s problem

Alcohol abuse is getting worse in Britain but it doesn’t just destroy its victims, it devastates their families as well. IF you think Britain’s drink problem is confined to its binge-drinking youth, then think again. Whether it’s a scantily-clad girl lying spread eagled outside a phone box or a young man slumped in a doorway, his clothes drenched in vomit, these are the images we associate with alcohol abuse…

The Sun 10.01.06


BRITAIN is in the grip of a booze crisis with more than a QUARTER of adults hooked on drink.
Shock new figures reveal that 8.2 million Britons — or 26 per cent of the adult population — have alcohol-related disorders.
Campaigners urgently called for the Government to spend more on combating the problem amid fears it could bring the NHS grinding to a halt within the next decade…Many of the addicted are under 30 and have been drinking heavily since their teens…

Alcohol-related harm costs the Government £20billion a year and three times more people die from drink than taking illegal drugs.

The Sunday Times 08.01.06


ONE of Scotland’s leading experts on alcohol addiction has called for a revival of the temperance movement after a report revealed drink-related deaths have doubled in the last decade…
A study published in the Lancet this week revealed cirrhosis is killing 3,000 Scots a year when the European-wide rate is falling dramatically. Scotland, which had the lowest death toll 50 years ago, now has the third worst, according to the study by David Leon at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
It is the result, say experts, of 20 years of liberal drink laws, an increase in the number of pubs and off-licences and the availability of alcohol which is 54% cheaper in relative terms than it was in 1980.

Daily Mail 06.01.06


Britons are drinking themselves to death at the fastest rate in Europe. And health experts claim the Government is turning a blind eye to the problem. Figures published today show a massive increase in deaths from liver disease in the UK at a time when rates are falling across the rest of Europe.
In the 1980s and 1990s, cirrhosis death rates for men rose by over two-thirds in England and Wales, says a report in The Lancet. Deaths more than doubled in Scotland.
The number of women dying from the disease increased by almost half over the same period.
Over the last 40 years alcohol consumption has doubled in the UK with the rise of the binge-drinking culture among young men and women. Excessive drinking kills around 22,000 Britons every year…

The Times 06.01.06


A study of cases of cirrhosis of the liver, a frequently fatal condition commonly caused by alcohol abuse, has found that deaths have risen sharply in Britain while falling in other European countries… PRIVATEPOISONOUS EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
More than 6,500 people die each year in England and Wales because of alcohol through liver disease, cancer, and alcohol poisoning. Another 30,000 deaths are linked to drinking The liver is essential for filtering poisons from the blood, controlling infection and removing germs With cirrhosis, scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue, blocking the flow of blood through the liver About 10 per cent of heavy drinkers eventually develop cirrhosis

The Mirror 19.12.05


LYING in intensive care after a booze-fuelled attack, this is the tragic picture of a dying son that his mum hopes will alert other youngsters to the dangers of binge-drinking…Despite her own pain, the 41-year-old toured the pubs and clubs of her home town handing out copies of Dale’s picture with the warning: “Don’t let this happen to you.”…Sharon said: “I want it to get to the kids, to have an impact on them. It’s my mission. My son died because of one stupid night out. Dean was drunk and Dale was drunk. In my opinion, drink and violence go hand in hand.”

BBC Online 18.12.05


A report on drinking trends in the Yorkshire and Humber region gives a “worrying” picture. More than one-third of local adults – nearly half of all men and over a quarter of all women – drink more than the recommended daily allowance…Along with the North East, the region has the highest percentage (5%) of people dependent on alcohol compared to the national average (3.6%). In line with national trends, deaths from chronic liver disease have almost doubled in the region in the past 10 years. Regional director of Public Health, Professor Paul Johnstone, said: “Enjoying a drink with friends is an important part of the social fabric of our region. However we must also recognise that many of us are now drinking far too much – and this has serious implications for our future physical and mental health and social well-being.”

The Times 18.12.05


The campaigns were working, the death rate falling year by year, but now it is rising again. Why? Emma Smith of The Sunday Times investigates …After two decades of progress, which saw the death toll from drink-driving-related accidents drop from 1,640 in 1979 to 460 at the end of the 1990s, the figure is creeping back up. Deaths from drink driving are at their highest level for more than a decade… In a country that has embraced a binge-drinking culture, the change in people’s attitudes is clear. Last week two surveys gave a damning portrait of motorists’ increasingly careless attitude towards drink-driving. In a survey of 1,600 motorists by Auto Trader magazine, one in three admitted to drink-driving. One in five said they’d had an accident or near miss after drinking alcohol, and half of those said it would not stop them doing it again. In a report by the online broker motorinsurance.co.uk, only 55% of 539 motorists questioned said they would not drink at all if they were driving.

The Evening Telegraph 15.12.05


Alcohol is taking an increasing toll on the local population, a senior Tayside doctor warned today, writes Ian Findlay. Mr Brodie Paterson, a consultant in the Accident & Emergency Department at Ninewells Hospital, said staff in the department were having to deal with a steadily increasing number of incidents of alcohol-related injuries suffered by men and woman of all ages and from all sections of society. He appealed for there to be more education about the dangers of excessive drinking. “There needs to be more education to change the national mindset about what is an appropriate level of drinking,” he told the Evening Telegraph.

The Times 15.12.05


THE incidence of liver failure has been rising steadily for many years. Deaths from cirrhosis of the liver rose seven fold from the 1960s to 1990s. They continue to rise. Cirrhosis is only one of the potentially lethal liver diseases associated with heavy alcohol consumption. It is the result of prolonged heavy drinking over many years by people who think that they are “alcohol hardened”. The amount of alcohol that a liver can take is finite. The number of years that they have to drink before they develop the fatty liver that precedes cirrhosis, and the number of daily drinks that this requires , is determined by metabolic characteristics that are probably inherited…Binge drinkers have equally lethal problems including hepatitis and cardiac arrhythmias that can cause sudden death. The effects of alcoholism will continue to rise partly because of the long incubation period for liver disease and partly because the relative cost of alcohol continues to fall.

The Times 15.12.05


DEATHS related to alcohol have increased by more than a third, reaching a record high, according to official figures released yesterday… The figures are probably an underestimate because they do not include deaths from cancer, suicide and accidents in which there was a causal link to alcohol. Some Whitehall officials estimate that the true figure could be more than three times those published by the Office for National Statistics. Separate statistics released yesterday showed that the number of admissions to hospitals in England for alcohol-related diseases has also risen, to reach nearly 46,000 in 2003-04.

The Herald 30.11.05


According to the 2003 Scottish Health Survey, while binge-drinking among men declined in the previous five years, among women it rose from 16% to 19%. The problem is worst among 16- to 24-year-old women, 28% of whom report being drunk “at least once a week in the past three months”. There is also concern about underage drinking in girls, with 10% of 15-year-olds drinking “at least once a week”, up from 6% in 1998. These figures may be substantial underestimates. An Edinburgh University survey of 23,000 13- and 15-year-olds in 2002 found that 20% of girls reported drinking at least once a week. There are also worrying figures about children, often too drunk to stand, being admitted to hospital with alcohol-related medical conditions. Last year there were 1100, divided nearly equally between the sexes.

The Herald 30.11.05


The rise in alcohol abuse among Scottish women has also prompted concern, with their binge drinking rising since 1998 from 16% to 19% and problem drinking from 5% to 7%. Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, warned: “The damaging effects of problem drinking are greater for women than they are for men, just because of their physiology.” A rise in the number of 15-year-olds drinking every week is also revealed.

The Guardian 30.11.05


This is what Best has done, and I unreservedly commend and thank him for it. I used to lie in my hospital bed and survey the damage that alcohol does to bodies, some as young as in their twenties; the sad, anxious partners, children, relatives and friends visibly distraught; the health professionals, stretched to breaking point, having to respond to it all. The striking thing about so many of the alcohol-related chronically ill people I met was their ordinariness. They weren’t your stereotypical down-and-out winos. For instance, 55-year-old Michael was an articulate, industrious man who told me he had drunk maybe five pints of beer a day since his teens and now had cirrhosis of the liver. Due to the toll his lifestyle had on his heart, his body was not strong enough to withstand a transplant. He had decided he wanted to go home to die and hoped he could be reconciled with his son in the weeks, or days, before it would happen.

The Guardian 29.11.05


“Beer is the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.” Homer Simpson neatly sums up the dichotomy of alcohol – at once revered and condemned; an architect of social bonding and a creator of social outcasts; an aid to health and a killer.

Evening Telegraph and Post 28.11.05


Gillian Ferguson, of Tayside Council on Alcohol, said excessive drinking could have severe consequences. She explained, “We certainly don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of alcohol over the festive period, but it’s worth thinking beforehand about how to drink in a safer and more sensible way. “The office party or night out is one of the recurring nightmares for many people who drink to excess and then wake to bitterly regret what they have done or are facing the problem of not remembering what they have done.” Studies have shown that at peak times, seven out of 10 admissions to accident and emergency are related to alcohol. An average of 13 under-18s are admitted to hospital daily as a result of excessive drinking. “Of course drink driving comes into focus and, although it is not the only danger, we need to remember alcohol remains in the system from the evening before.”

The Times 20.11.05


Apparently 17m working days are lost each year because of hangovers, all of them involving people in the working classes. The middle classes do not take days off because of hangovers. They may phone in at 9.30 with mysterious tummy ailments, a nasty bout of one-day flu or “food poisoning” — or simply explain to the boss that they’ll be “working from home today, I think, Bob; got an awful lot on”. But not because they were bladdered the night before. The assumption seems to be this: it’s only fair that we civilised folk should be allowed to sit in an agreeable bar sipping a chilled sancerre or five whenever we like, but what on earth should we do with those ghastly oiks who clamber from huge vats of Carlsberg to cause mayhem in our town centres, beat each other up and later shag in the doorway of Dolcis? Can’t we stop them drinking all the time and let us quietly get on with it? This view was epitomised last week by an article in The Guardian highlighting the problem of binge drinking, of which this is a very tightly edited but still accurate précis: “Sex is in the air . . . microskirted girls . . . drunken women in white stilettos . . . gangs of aggressive men with gold chains shouting . . . happy hours . . . karaoke . . . pools of urine . . .” and so on — all those social signifiers screaming prole alert! The middle classes, you see, drink in order to be sociable: the working classes drink in order to get drunk.

The Times 20.11.05


LATE-NIGHT drinking laws are predicted to fuel an estimated £500m increase in sales of beer, wine and spirits, undermining government promises to end Britain’s binge culture. A report by Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, on one of the major pub chains claims sales in each pub could increase by 10% in the coming year. A similar increase in trade for other chains will help push UK consumption of alcohol to its highest level ever. Britons already drink 11 litres of pure alcohol a head each year, the equivalent of 28 bottles of vodka.

BBC online 17.11.05


As 24-hour drinking in pubs looms, stories about Britons’ excessive alcohol consumption abound. But what’s the truth about how much we drink? All eyes will be on English and Welsh town centres next Thursday when later opening hours come into force.

Some have warned this moment, tagged an “alcoholic Big Bang”, will signal chaos and disorder on the streets. Yet others are saying the impact will be far less dramatic, even negligible. Only time will reveal how our drinking habits may change, but what can we say about them now?

BBC online 16.11.05


Growing alcohol use is causing a steep rise in mouth cancer cases, experts have warned just days before the planned extension of pub opening hours.

Mouth cancer now kills more people in the UK than cervical cancer and testicular cancer put together – some 1,600 people last year. Yet more than 75% of cases are preventable by quitting smoking and drinking alcohol only in moderation. Cancer Research UK is launching a three-year campaign to raise awareness. Boozy culture Cases of mouth cancer have risen by a quarter over the past 10 years – from 3,411 cases in 1992 to 4,285 in 2001.

BBC online 09.11.05


A quarter of adults who bought alcohol for under 18s said they did not know they were breaking the law, according to new research. Nearly a third of adults surveyed said they had been asked to buy alcohol for youngsters, while about 30% of those broke the law and made the purchase. The survey, for the drinks industry’s Portman Group, questioned 1,000 adults. The group is launching a campaign highlighting £80 on-the-spot fines for “proxy purchasing”.

BBC online 07.11.05


Thousands of people in the York area are putting their health at risk because they are drinking too much. In a report by the Selby and York Primary Care Trust experts claim 50,000 people drink to excess with 20,000 of those regularly binge drinking. Janet Flanagan The Alcohol Impact Study’s author said: “It [excessive drinking] does seem to be particularly relevant to people in this country, it’s about socialising. In the Mediterranean it is frowned upon to get drunk and out of control, in this country we laugh at people who are drunk it’s difficult to change that culture.”

The Guardian 07.11.05


· Expert says problem is spiralling out of control.
· Experimenting begins as young as age nine.

So many Scottish children are addicted to drink and drugs that medical experts are calling for special drying-out clinics for youngsters. More than 500 children in Scotland, some as young as 12, received counselling for alcohol addiction last year according to figures from the country’s health boards. Glasgow and the Forth Valley emerged as the worst blackspots, with 159 and 119 children being treated. But addiction experts say the problem has become so serious that addicted children must be removed to dedicated centres, away from the drinking culture of family and friends.

BBC online 06.11.05


To say that humanity has a problem with drink and would be better off not doing it is like saying it has a problem with sex or the weather. It just is the way we are, it’s what we do, it’s our recreational weather. But for some people it seems to be sunnier than for others, and while all societies drink, they don’t all drink the same. Bad is a value judgment that has an alternative view: if the point of drinking is to get drunk and release inhibition, then the English are very good at drinking, but drink is still a constant social problem. One in four hospital beds is occupied by someone with a drink-related or exacerbated condition. Almost all domestic violence and violent crime is committed with the help of a drink. In fact it’s difficult to find a social ill from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases to carpet-chewing club bores that doesn’t have “just the one” at its heart. And of course, drink kills you. It takes years off your life and is the guide of your terminal illness.

The Guardian 05.11.05


For her parents, a bottle of Mateus rosé was a rare treat. For Emma Cook, like many, a glass a night is the norm. She wonders what she’s teaching her children Early Saturday evening and I am cooking fish fingers for my two young children. My husband hovers in the background. “Ahh, six o’clock”, he says. He opens the fridge and reaches for a bottle. “Wine?” He knows me too well and starts to pour before I answer. I take a long sip and feel two pairs of eyes fix upon me. They are intrigued, even though they should be used to it by now. After all it’s a ritual they witness each weekend evening (we manage to wait until they’re in bed during the week).

BBC online 04.11.05


An undercover operation to check shops are obeying sales laws has been branded a “disappointment” after a 13-year-old was able to buy alcohol. Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards officers tested 85 outlets with the help of teenage volunteers. Seventeen failed to challenge the children and sold them restricted items, such as cigarettes or fireworks. The youngsters, who were aged from 13 to 15, also managed to buy alcohol on 14 out of 65 attempts. Nigel Strick, head trading standards, said: “As a service we are committed to preventing the sale of alcohol to young people and so we are naturally disappointed that some retailers were prepared to sell alcoholic drink to children. “Retailers are warned that we will be planning more undercover exercises at retail premises across Oxfordshire.” Investigations into the illegal sales are now continuing.

BBC online 27.10.05


Up to a quarter of adults in Britain are binge drinkers, according to research. A survey of 2,000 people found almost one in three men and one in five women drank at least double the recommended daily limit. Advisors say women should drink no more than 2-3 units and men no more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day. A small glass of wine contains one unit. BUPA Wellness says 11 million Britons are risking their health in this way.

The Times 27.10.05


One in four British adults — 11 million people — are binge drinkers but many do not believe that excessive alcohol damages their health. The research, conducted for BUPA Wellness, indicated that four in ten of those who binge drink wrongly believe their health is not affected. Dr Peter Mace, the medical director of BUPA Wellness, said that the confusion arose partly for practical reasons. “There is no such thing as a standard-sized drink any more,” he said, adding that binge-drinkers are more prone to accidents and unsafe sex in the short term, as well as long-term health problems.

D. Mail 24.10.05


When late-night pub opening begins next month, pub managers of large pub chains will be given huge bonuses if they get people to drink more alcohol. Some could earn an extra £20,000 a year for boosting drink sales. Dave Daley president of National Assoc. of Licensed House Managers accused pub companies of being fixated on making fat profits at the expense of social responsibility. He declared that pub managers had created “binge” drinking in recent years by maximising alcohol sales.
The Times 21.10.05


VIOLENT crime recorded by the police rose by 6 per cent in the three months to the end of June, with much of it fuelled by binge drinking, according to figures published yesterday. The numbers of assaults involving injuries, robberies and sexual offences have all increased, according to the Home Office figures.

BBC online 02.10.05


Andrew McNeill, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, says you might not like the numbers but don’t kid yourself that binge drinking isn’t a problem. The idea that the increase in consumption could be celebrating the Millennium is absurd: there has been a long-term increase since the 1950s, and we now drink more than double the amount consumed then. And many are drinking in the most unhealthy way possible. Binge drinking is integral to the social life of many young Britons. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, only one in four women and one in six men say they never binge. A Data monitor report found that UK women under 25 drink more than their European counterparts, and by 2009, it’s expected to rise another 31% to three times as much as young women in France and Italy.

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