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BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 15 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1410
  1. Alex Paton, retired physician
  1. Knollbury, Chadlington OX7 3NJ

    Failure to develop a national strategy against alcohol misuse should encourage local initiatives

    Alcohol watchers must surely be aware by now that no political party intends to do anything about alcohol misuse. Repeated calls for a national alcohol policy have been rebuffed since at least the 1980s, and successive ministers have dismissed the need for action on the grounds that the public is happy, in fact the more alcohol the merrier. It is only fair to say that Health of the Nation did set a modest target of a one third reduction in the numbers of people drinking over sensible limits by 2005.1 Ten years on, the number of heavy drinkers has increased. Initiatives from Europe have fared no better. In 1993, Britain was one of the 26 member states that agreed in principle to a 25% reduction in alcohol consumption by the end of the century.2 The government must have known that such a step was a non-starter, given its reliance on alcohol taxes, a commitment to increasing …

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