Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Nursing Survey on Alcohol Treatment Services

Making the news today has been a survey of physicians and nurses about alcohol.

Much of the focus has been on their call for an increase in the price of alcohol.  But it’s also worth looking behind the press releases to the content of the survey as well.

Amongst respondents 84% thought that public health campaigns were not effective.  One they quote says:

The strategies are good, but they are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It’s reactionary not forward planned. The problem of youth binge drinking has been steadily worsening over years, particularly after alco-pops came out but the government adverts to counter it have only been around for the last year – over 10yrs later. The supermarkets selling cheap booze have been doing so for at least 10 years, and the government still haven’t stopped it.

I’m sure that the Know Your Limits campaign has been around a bit longer than a year, but as we’ve seen elsewhere this is evidence that the messaging (and the general effectiveness of public health campaigning) is difficult to absorb over the short term.

Another says:

Education is generally ineffective, and tends to reduce the alcohol consumption of those who are drinking the least. Price increases and licensing restrictions are effective and reduce consumption amongst those who drink the most and those 3 most vulnerable to the social and medical harms of drinking but strategies repeatedly ignore this. The brewing lobby exerts a disproportionate influence over public policy.

And another observes:

Lots of young people are unaware of the danger. People often consider themselves as social drinkers not alcohol addicted patients. Alcohol problem is not accepted as a serious disease which needs complex treatment and social care.

Filed under: alcohol

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