A recent study conducted by the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) reveals more than half of Brits have been negatively affected by another’s drinking in the last 12 months. The study surveyed 2000 people. People most affected by another’s drinking lived in the North East (78%) and Scotland (51%). Those aged between 16 and 34 purported to be the most negatively affected by another’s drinking.
Example ways alcohol negatively affects other people
Examples of how
alcohol consumption negatively affected those surveyed includes:
- Harassed or insulted on the street
- Made to feel frightened in a public place
- Kept awake at night (50% in the North East)
- Road accident due to drink driving
- Unwanted sexual attention (one in seven in the North East and 22% of women/8% of men)
- Annoyed by urinating, vomiting or littering on the street
- Children missing school as a result of parent’s alcohol consumption
- Family or marital problems (one in twenty in Scotland)
- Financial problems due to alcohol consumption
How much is this costing the economy?
The report points to Government statistics revealing the cost of alcohol consumption to the taxpayer. It estimates alcohol consumption costs the UK taxpayer around £15 billion each year.
The report attributes this cost as follows:
- £1.4 billion for health costs
- £7.3 billion for crime and public disturbance costs
- £6.4 billion for workplace-related disruption (e.g. sickness related to alcohol consumption)
On this issue of cost, Katherine Brown, director of the IAS, said: "Alcohol harm is everybody's business – as taxpayers, we are all paying the price. We hope this government will look to the evidence of what works and take action, both to ease the heavy financial burden on our health, social care and police services, and to make our communities safer."
What must be done to reduce this harm?
If we are to accept the study’s findings as representative of the entire UK population, clearly action must be taken. The report itself outlined recommendations for possible ways of reducing this harm.
These recommendations include :
- Reducing the number of licenced premises in a given area
- Restricting the trading hours for licenced premises
- Increasing the price of alcohol
- Lowering the drink driving limit
- Introducing random roadside breath testing
Katherine Brown, director of the IAS, said: "We hope this Government will look to the evidence of what works and take action, both to ease the heavy financial burden on our health, social care and police services, and to make our communities safer. "
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