Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.


Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

The Government announced last week that the Strategy Unit (SU), in conjunction with the Department of Health (DOH), is to produce a study into alcohol misuse. Douglas Alexander, Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, said: The project will pay particular attention to issues such as alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour, problems faced by vulnerable groups and what works best in tackling the problems of alcohol misuse.' The DOH said the two governmental bodies would produce a joint consultation paper in the autumn - covering both the DOH's long-running alcohol harm reduction strategy and the SU's new project - before the full, multi-departmental study is published in the spring. The Government first announced it was to tackle the alcohol misuse problem in 1998. So far, only Scotland has published a full plan. The sensible drinking issue has come to the fore recently, following Allied Domecq's decision to introduce messages urging moderate drinking in all its spirits' adverts. The matter was also debated in the House of Lords last week, with particular reference to the worrying rise in the amount of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers. The existence of alcopops, designed to appear like lemonade - sweet, syrupy and perhaps seductive to children - undermines the intention of parents, encourages young people to drink to excess and therefore weakens the Government's whole policy,' said Lord Dubs (Labour). Lady Andrews, for the Government, admitted that she was concerned over the continued increase in underage drinking, but disputed that this was linked to alcopops. The Portman Group backed her stance. Research shows underage drinkers are more likely to drink lager and cider than RTDs, and the industry has a good record of not targeting underage drinkers,' said a spokesman. Quentin Rappaport, director of the Wine & Spirit Association, added: The [House of Lords] discussion seems to have been based on an outdated description of the product.'