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College Supports New Coalition For Tougher Measures On Alcohol

13 November 2007

The Royal College of Surgeons of England joined a new coalition launched today to call on the Government to do more to prevent the rise in alcohol-related diseases.  The Alcohol Health Alliance UK is a ground-breaking coalition of 22 organisations whose mission is to reduce the damage caused to health caused by alcohol misuse and who will work together to:

  • Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
  • Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
  • Influence decision makers to take positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse

While loose coalitions have previously been formed on specific topics in the medical field, notably tobacco control, this is the first time that a group has existed specifically to co-ordinate campaigning on alcohol, bringing together medical bodies, patient representatives and alcohol health campaigners.  The formation of the Alliance comes at a time when:

  • 13 children a day are hospitalised as a result of alcohol misuse
  • Alcoholic liver cirrhosis has increased by 95% since 2000, and by 36% over the last two years to 2006 and is still increasing
  • Overall alcohol related deaths have increased by 18% from 2002-2005
  • More people die from alcohol related causes than from breast cancer, cervical cancer and MRSA combined
  • The ‘passive effects’ of alcohol misuse are catastrophic – rape, sexual assault, domestic and other violence, drunk driving and street disorder - alcohol affects thousands more innocent victims than passive smoking

The Alcohol Health Alliance UK will campaign for:

  • Increased taxation on alcohol – evidence suggests that a 10% increase could decrease the number of deaths from alcohol by up to 37%
  • A ban on alcohol advertising before 9.00 pm and in cinemas apart from 18 rated films
  • Promotional material to carry information on health related harm
  • The drink driving limit to be reduced to the EU standard of 0.5g/l and a near zero limit for new drivers
  • More funding for alcohol treatment programmes and alcohol prevention strategies

Vice-President of the College, Christopher Russell said: “All clinicians support the trend towards responsible drinking and the Royal College of Surgeons of England support these measures to curb excessive alcohol consumption. Surgeons see some of the most immediate effects of binge drinking in a rising toll of emergency trauma injury admissions due largely to traffic accidents and altercations.”