Study shows that moderate alcohol consumption can lower the risk of some heart disease

23.03.17

Commenting on today’s BMJ study that finds moderate alcohol consumption can help lower the risk of some cardiovascular disease Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said 

 “This new study confirms yet again what previous studies have consistently found.  Moderate alcohol consumption can have a beneficial impact on health.  This study demonstrates that the anti-alcohol campaigners mantra that there is no safe limit just doesn’t stack up.

 This is good news for the vast majority of people who drink alcohol in moderation.  It shows yet again that moderate consumption can form part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.”

ENDS

 

Figures on alcohol show moderation is the norm


07.03.17

Commenting on alcohol consumption statistics released today by Public Health England, Dave Roberts, Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

“Today’s report shows that, despite the Government’s weekly drinking guidelines being recently revised to amongst the lowest in the world, the vast majority of people in England are still drinking within these new guidelines.

There remain some groups and communities that drink over the low risk guidelines and these groups need targeted interventions rather than blanket, catch-all policies aimed at reducing consumption in the whole population.

Most drinkers in England continue to do so without any harm to themselves or others.

 

ENDS

 

Response to misleading use of figures re MUP and Northern Ireland

03.03.17

Dear Editor

The Belfast Telegraph article 22nd January “50p alcohol unit price ‘would save 63 lives in Northern Ireland” is misleading to the public and policy makers.

Firstly the proposals for Minimum Unit Pricing are based on computer modeling and there are no certainties that its introduction in Northern Ireland would actually save any lives at all – it might – but as there are no direct real life examples for MUP it is far from certain what the impact will be.

Secondly the paper from Sheffield University refers to 63 lives possibly being saved per year after 20 years – it is clearly misleading to imply that this would be from year one.  In fact the computer modeler leading the work has stated that he doesn’t have a confident figure for lives potentially saved in the first year – but states it might be around 20, very different to 63. The same modeling predicted 60 lives would be saved in the first year in Scotland – with three times the population of NI.

Accuracy is important, especially when dealing with the controversial and complex issue of alcohol in society.  While data on alcohol consumption in Northern Ireland is not easily available recent figures show that the vast majority of adults drink sensibly. Since 2011 men and women drinking above the recommended limit of 14 units per week has decreased and since 2005 binge drinking has fallen by 18%.  There remain problems with alcohol dependent drinkers and the harm this can cause – however our collective ability to address these specific drinkers is not helped when what’s published or promoted is merely partial or otherwise inaccurate data that can mask real issues and opportunities.

 

ENDS

Response to Byrne and Ashworth re numbers of children of alcoholics


21.02.17

Dear Sir

The recent focus given by the MPs Liam Byrne and Jonathan Ashworth to the plight of children and families of alcoholics has shed a welcome light on an important question – how best do we support individuals and families affected by substance misuse.

However, the use of exaggerated numbers to support the cause is misleading and unhelpful.  The recent reports claim 2.5 million children live with an alcoholic parent.  Yet according to the references provided this is in fact untrue by a factor of more than three. The reference given in the APPG “Manifesto for Change” to a report by the Children’s Commissioner leads to data on hazardous drinking not alcohol dependency – these are very different things –and it clearly states that there are 700,000 children of dependent drinkers not 2.5 million.

The reference also refers to a report written in 2012 that relies on a study published in 2009 that no doubt used even older data.  It ignores that fact that over the past 13 years alcohol consumption per head in the UK has fallen, harmful and binge drinking is down and young people drink less than ever.  UK society is becoming ever more moderate and abstemious.  It would be far better to have a debate that is honest and balanced not out of date, inaccurate or misleading.

 

ENDS

Comment on ONS alcohol death rate figures

07.02.17

Commenting on today’s figures from ONS showing a fall in the number of deaths from alcohol Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

“Today’s figures are encouraging news. In the UK people are drinking less than in previous years. The vast majority of people drink within the Governments new guidelines and in a convivial manner.

The U.K. is a good example of how partnerships between the public sector, retailers, licensees and industry can help deliver positive results.”

ENDS

Response to Brown and Williams letter re cost of alcohol to society

03.01.17

Sir – Katherine Brown and Roger Williams are wrong to make exaggerated claims about the cost of alcohol to society (letter 1st February).  Their claim of £52billion does not appear in the recent Public Health England report.

Reflecting on similar claims about the cost of alcohol that proved to be unreliable it can be assumed that these new extravagant figures are based on flimsy evidence and assumptions designed to mislead. The huge and inflated costs used tend to include a significant percentage (circa70%) of indirect and vague social costs, with police services being as low as 3% of the total and the NHS at little more than 10%.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), which receives its funding from the Alliance House Foundation (formerly the UK Temperance Alliance) – is a ring leader of the anti-alcohol lobby. It is in the interests of IAS to present the UK as a wild west where excessive alcohol consumption is plaguing our lives.  Katherine Brown and others habitually mislead, as we saw when Public Health England, advised by Ms Brown, mistakenly claimed to the media that alcohol consumption in the UK had tripled over the past few decades, when in fact it is the same today as it was in the 1970s and has fallen for the past 13 years.

Official Government figures show that in the UK people are drinking less each year, that underage drinking is falling, alcohol related crime is down and binge drinking is reducing. The number of people that choose not to drink alcohol has increased to nearly 20%.  The vast majority of those that do choose to drink do so within the new CMO guidelines and in a convivial manner.

The public sector, retailers, licensees and industry continue to work tirelessly to reduce harm caused by inappropriate alcohol consumption. Their work is made harder when people make exaggerated claims in order to pursue their own ideological agenda.

ENDS

Response to Gilmore and Moriarty letter

3.01.17

Sir Ian Gilmore and Kieran Moriarty are wrong to use partial and misleading evidence to imply that the current pressure on NHS A&E departments could be resolved by increasing the cost of a bottle of wine or spirits. (letter 27th January).

It appears that the data they use is from a survey at one busy urban hospital on a Saturday night and the 70% figure for alcohol related attendances relates to a brief period during the very early hours. The impression they are trying to give is that we are experiencing an outbreak of wild drunkenness that is bringing our NHS to its knees.

Government data paints a very different picture. The past 13 years have seen consumption fall, underage drinking falling year on year and alcohol related crime and drink driving down and young people drink less now than they have ever done.  While there remain a minority that drink irresponsibly and need targeted support the vast majority of people that choose to drink alcohol do so within the Chief Medical Officers new guidelines and in a convivial manner.

Public services, retailers, licenses and the industry continue to work hard to reduce harm caused by inappropriate drinking . Their task is undermined and made harder when eminent individuals make misleading claims to support a preferred policy position.

ENDS

Councillors might be confused -Letter to Manchester Evening News

27.01.17

I write with regard to the recent article Politicians call for watershed on alcohol TV ads to protect kids that reported some local politicians desire to restrict the times alcohol can be advertised on TV. The politicians expressed concern for underage drinking and the drinking habits of young people and linked this to a rise in hospital admissions.

It appears that the Councillors involved in this campaign may be confused or have not been given the full picture.  Official data shows that young people in the UK drink less and less every year and that underage drinking continues to fall as attitudes among teenagers harden against the appropriateness of underage drinking.

The article quotes Councillors from Trafford and Stockport – readers may be interested to know that in Trafford, Stockport and across the region admissions to hospital for underage drinking continue to fall.  In Trafford Public Health England data shows that since 2006/7 the admission rate has more than halved from 69.7 per 100,000 to 32.1 and is now below the national average.  In Stockport, admissions fell 32% since 2006/07.  Underage admissions do need to fall further and more work needs to be done, for example to enforce the law on the underage purchasing of alcohol.

Official data shows that the consumption of alcohol per head in the UK has fallen over the past decade and the number of teetotallers has increased to nearly 20%.  Recent data has also shown that the vast majority of those that choose to drink alcohol do so within the Chief Medical Officers new reduced guideline amounts.

Experience in France shows that introducing additional restrictions on advertising does little to reduce youth drinking as teenage consumption rates have risen since the introduction of the Loi Evin 20 years ago.

In the UK reductions in underage and youth drinking are being achieved by interested parties working together to target harm – not through additional state regulation or restrictions.

Yours

Dave Roberts

Director General

Statement in response to State of Child’s Health Report from RCPCH

26.01.17

Commenting on the State of Child’s Health Report Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said 

Underage consumption of alcohol in the UK has been falling for many years as young people themselves develop a less accepting attitude to underage drinking. In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to get drunk has fallen from 46% to 24% (HSCICand the proportion of children aged 11-15 that have had an alcoholic drink has declined by 38%  (HSCIC). 

According to data from the government Health and Social Care Information Centre the number of children that have had a drink in the past week is now at only 8%.

In every region of England underage hospital admissions due to alcohol are falling, including in those areas that in the past have been disproportionately affected by alcohol-related harms, such as the North West (down  54%) and North East (down 46%). (PHE

While the fall in underage drinking is to be welcomed it is important that family members and friends do not facilitate children drinking by buying alcohol on behalf of a young person.

Partnerships between retailers, public services, licensees and industry are working to prevent the purchase of alcohol by underage teenagers. It is through these partnerships that further progress can be made.

ENDS

 

Statement on the special edition of Addiction on alcohol marketing

10.01.17 

Commenting on the special edition of Addiction on alcohol marketing Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

This report appears to have little to offer the UK.

In the UK alcohol consumption, harmful drinking and underage drinking have all been falling year on year. 

Official data shows the vast majority of people drink in moderation and in a convivial manner. A self-regulatory framework and a partnership approach have clearly been working.

The best way to reduce alcohol related harm is to target programmes and policies at harmful drinkers.

Instead of restricting companies freedom to operate and compete it would be better for Government to focus on understanding what has worked so well over the past decade and encourage more of the same.  Where there are pockets of harm intervention should be directed towards those communities or age groups.

In the UK there is no evidence to show that alcohol sponsorship increases consumption or misuse of alcohol, either by adults or by those who are underage, or that bans on alcohol sponsorship are effective in addressing harmful drinking.

 Self-regulation is the most appropriate and cost effective way to ensure responsible advertising and marketing.

Unfortunately there is a misperception that believes self-regulation is simply the industry sitting in judgement on itself. It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. There is also a misperception that self-regulation is incapable of moving quickly; in reality, relying on the courts to rule on individual code breaches would be much slower, more expensive and less efficient. 

Under self-regulatory systems, consumers get a fast, concrete answer to their concerns: complaints are usually handled within three to 30 working days, which is much faster than court actions. The process avoids red tape and lengthy procedures, relieving the burden on the legal system and costs tax payers nothing. Rules can be adapted quickly as society and technology change, providing an additional layer of protection to consumers without the need for lengthy legislative procedures.

 For more info please call Dave on 07733323350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to Editors

The Alcohol Information Partnership is comprised of eight alcoholic beverage producers:

Diageo Great Britain
Pernod Ricard UK
Campari
Bacardi
Brown-Forman
Remy-Cointreau
Moet Hennessy
Beam Suntory

Brief biography for Dave Roberts
Chief Executive of the National Clinical Homecare Association
Strategic communications adviser to Wiltshire Public Health and NHS Wiltshire
Adviser to Family and Childcare Trust
Lead strategist for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – leading the campaign to introduce the HPV vaccine to prevent causes of cervical cancer
Head of Communications Wiltshire Health Authority

Media enquiries
For further information, please contact: Dave Roberts on 07733323350 or dave@alcoholinfopartnership.co.uk
Twitter @DGalcoinfo

The Alcohol Information Partnership is registered at Companies House. Company number: 10314408

 

 

 

  1. Overall, binge drinking has fallen by 19% since 2005. There have been significant declines in binge drinking for the 16-24 and 25-44 age groups, down 33% and 20% respectively. (ONS) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/drugusealcoholandsmoking/bulletins/opinionsandlifestylesurveyadultdrinkinghabitsingreatbritain/2014
  2. In the last decade, the proportion of children (11-15) who have had an alcoholic drink has declined by 38%. (HSCIC) http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879
    In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to try alcohol has fallen by 28% (HSCIC) http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879
    In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to get drunk has reduced from 46% to 24% (HSCIC) http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879
    Under 18 alcohol-specific hospital admissions have fallen by 46% since 2008, and by 8% in the last year alone (2012/13 – 2014/15). (PHE) http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data
    In every region of England underage hospital admissions due to alcohol are falling, including in those areas that in the past have been disproportionately affected by alcohol-related harms, such as the North West (down 54%) and North East (down 46%). (PHE) http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data
  3. In 2014, there were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths registered in the UK. Alcohol-related deaths have fallen since a peak in 2008. The majority of deaths (65%) were among males. Alcohol-related deaths for both males and females are more prevalent in the North of the country. (ONS) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/bulletins/alcoholrelateddeathsintheunitedkingdom/registeredin2014 Alcohol-related hospital admissions for those aged under 40 have declined over the past six years(PHE) http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data

Contact

Dave Roberts

07733 323350

dave@alcoholinfopartnership.co.uk