Sunday, December 23, 2007

Doctors say government needs to implement tougher alcohol laws

Leading doctors feel that measures to curb alcohol drinking through education have failed and that the government must adopt tougher laws to curb binge drinking in the country. Suggested measures include banning alcohol, increasing its price and barring its widespread distribution.

Dr Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Dr Nick Sheron, a liver specialist at Southampton University Hospital said that alcohol had become a major public health concern and attempts to change public behavior by encouraging quitting were not working.

"How many more lives will be damaged by alcohol in the UK before our governments decide to tackle the problem with measures that are likely to work?" the doctors asked in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.

They added that the deaths linked to alcohol use were in fact more than those caused by a combination of breast cancer, cervical cancer and MRSA. In 2003 alcohol was lined to over 22,000 deaths and 150,000 hospital admissions.

"Between 780,000 and 1.3 million children are affected by their parents' use of alcohol - 30 to 60 per cent of child protection cases and 23 per cent of calls to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children about child abuse or child neglect involved drunken adults," they argued.

The doctors also said that the UK government would be benefitted by following the actions of erstwhile Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, whose alcohol policies saved an estimated 1.2 million lives.

source: Earth Times

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