Alcohol misuse, public health, and public policy

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7504.1343 (Published 09 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1343
  1. Soumen Sengupta, regional associate director (soumen.sengupta@nice.org.uk)1,
  2. Lesley Hoyle, health inequalities lead2
  1. 1National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, North East Regional Office, Durham University Science Park, Durham DH1 3YG
  2. 2Langbaurgh Primary Care Trust, Guisborough TS14 7AA

    A comprehensive and evidence based approach is needed

    Alcohol misuse continues to be associated with as many as 22 000 deaths each year in England, with cumulative economic, health, and social costs estimated at £20bn annually.1 While people in many other parts of Europe may have consumed a greater amount of alcohol in the past—although varying definitions of categories of consumption hamper accurate cross national comparisons2—the situation in England is one of increasing concern. According to recent figures, 38% of men and 23% of women in England exceed recommended maximum levels for the heaviest drinking day of the week,3 and alcohol related illness mortality is on the rise.4 Drinking patterns vary between England's regions in a predictable manner that reflects persistent health inequalities,5 notably with the highest rates of binge drinking found in the north-east. Formulating effective and palatable public policy …

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