Editorials

The alcohol harm reduction strategy for England

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7445.905 (Published 15 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:905
  1. Martin Plant, professor of addiction studies (Martin.Plant@uwe.ac.uk)
  1. Alcohol and Health Research Trust, Centre for Research in Public Health & Primary Care Development, University of the West of England, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD

    Overdue final report omits much that was useful in interim report

    The United Kingdom as a whole has a serious problem in relation to the increasing levels of the adverse effects of drinking across gender and age groups.14 The report from the prime minister's strategy unit has been awaited with great interest. It is years overdue. Counterparts in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have been published for some time. The production of the strategy was undertaken by civil servants who consulted widely and produced an interim report that had much to commend it.5 A postgraduate thesis could be written to document and analyse the differences between the interim report, the final report, and the inconsistencies between different sections of the final document.6 The latter has been neutered. Issues such as sex, children of problem drinkers, and pregnancy have virtually disappeared.

    The harm minimisation strategy states that binge drinking and chronic drinking are the main targets of proposed action to reduce the “further increase in alcohol related harms in England.” That this statement seems to accept the current high level of alcohol problems rather than setting out to reduce them substantially is depressing. Dates and targets for this would …

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