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NETWORK A national newsletter on substance misuse management in primary care

Special Edition
This Special Edition of Network looks at issues caused by our increasing alcohol consumption in the UK, including
trends, policy, and treatmentnull null particular we look at the role primary care can play in the growing challenges presented
by alcohol use in the UK todaynull The following piece pronulldes a broad onullrnullew of the effects of alcohol use, and directs
you to articles that address central themes within this edition of Networknull Ednull
Britain’s biggest hangover:
an overview of the effect of alcohol
The problem
The rise of problem drinking has been increasingly
reported on the news in the past year, almost
always with images of drunk young people in 250
town centres on a night out. Binge drinking young
people have come to represent for many what is
wrong with alcohol use in the UK. Throughout
the debate on ‘Booze Britainnull
the government
has talked of the ‘small minoritynullof irresponsible
drinkers who are causing the problems, spoiling
things for the manullrity of people who ennully alcohol
sensiblynulland the mindnulls eye can easily be drawn
% change vs 1971
to a picture of young people stumbling about on a 0
nulliday and nullturday night.
1971 1981 1991 2001 2007
Teenagers are drinking twice as much as they
did in nullnull
. nulld yet if we scratch the surface, a 100
different, less straightforward picture emergesnullwe
have an endemic problem that cannot be so easily
nullgure null nullvements in mortality nullnullnullnullnullnulleaths per million of populationnull
enulllained. null a nation our alcohol consumption null
has been rising for decades, and with it the harms associate nullilst we must not ignore the phenomenon, young people binge
with this consumption. nullpartment of nullalth nullures suggest drinking at the weekend do not account alone for the increases
that more than null million people drink over recommended limits in alcohol related harm in the UK. The rate of increase in alcohol-
nullhis group consume nullnullof all the alcohol consumed and nullnull related deaths has risen most steeply among middle and older
million drink twice the safe limitsnull nulltotal of nullnullmillion of us are age groups: those in their 30s, 40s and 50s are at a much higher
dependent on alcohol
. risk of an early death due to heavy drinking .
nullilst the nullnulle of nulltional nullatistics estimated that alcohol nullilst death rates from other categories have been declining
related deaths have doubled to nullnull in nullgland and nullales in the UK, mortality from liver disease nulleen as one of the best
between nullnull and nullnull, a recent nullcohol nullncern report
indicators of alcohol related ill healthnullhas increased nullefold in
argues that that this is vastly underestimates the true picture and people under null nullee nullure null. This is particularly worrying when
suggests the number of alcoholnullelated deaths may be as high set against the fact that the wine drinking countries of nulluthern
as nullp nullnullnullnullnull to half that of smoking related deathsnull nullcoholnull nullrope, which historically had very high levels of liver deaths
related admissions to hospital have increased in nullgland by from alcohol related cirrhosis, are seeing their rates of deaths
nullnull representing rises of around null,nullnull per year between dropping. nulldeed the UK overtook the death rates of nullain,
nullnullnullnullnulland nullnullnullnullnull
. This accounts for more than null of nullaly and nullance for liver deaths in nullnull
. null this nullecial nullition
all hospital admissions. Simon Tnull aylornullobinsonnulls article, Alcohol, viral hepatitis and
liver disease gives an international perspective and outlines
1 The Guardian (08.01.10) Report condemns government response to alcoholism
preventative measures for hepatocellular carcinoma nullage null.
and binge drinking
nullnir nullrmohamed also outlines the role genetics may play
2 Information nullntre for nullalth and nullcial nullrer (200nullnull nullokingnull drinking and
in alcohol related liver disorders, offering future possibilities for
drug use among nulloung people in nullgland in 200null headline nullures nulltional
nullntre for nullcial Researchnull nulltional nulloundation for nullucational Research
screening and prevention nullage null.
null nullnullhiatric morbiditnull among adults living in private householdsnull 2000null nullnull.
null nullitish nullver Trust analnullis of nullnulle for nulltional nullatistics mortalitnull statistics covnull
null nullcohol nullncern (200null nullture nulloofnull nulln nulle afford the cost of drinking too ering all deaths related to liver dnullfunction covering Inull null0nullnull and other codes
muchnull nullrtalitnull morbiditnull and drink driving in the null including null2nullnull (liver cancer)null and nullnullnullnull (viral hepatitis)null nullanuarnull 200null
null nullspital nullisode nullatistics null WHO, Europe, European HPA Database, January 2009
…continued overleaf
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