Intended for healthcare professionals


Alcohol misuse and ethnicity

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 23 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:682
  1. Rahul Rao, consultant and honorary senior lecturer in psychiatry (
  1. South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and Institute of Psychiatry, London

    Hidden populations need specific services—and more research

    The development and implementation of clinically effective interventions for alcohol misuse remains a priority for developed countries with high levels of harmful alcohol consumption.w1 Such interventions rely on individuals recognising that they need help and then seeking it, but ethnic minorities may have particular problems with alcohol use yet may be constrained from seeking help.

    In the United Kingdom several ethnic minorities have higher levels of alcohol use and resulting health problems than the general population. For example, 34% of Irish men drink above the weekly recommended limit of 21 units of alcohol,w2 compared with 29% of the general Irish population and 27% of the general British population. A similar problem exists in …

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