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Alcohol problem in Britain paints a bleak picture


Teenagers in Britain are consuming twice as much alcohol as a decade ago, a new report reveals this week. The study also shows a steep rise in alcohol-related deaths and the number of people addicted to drink. The charity Alcohol Concern used Department of Health figures to compile the 'State of the Nation' report released this month. According to the report, 1 person in 13 is dependent on alcohol in Britain - twice as many as are hooked on all forms of drugs, including prescription drugs. The UK government is criticised in the report for not spending enough on the problem. Just over £1 million (1.8 million euros) is spent on alcohol prevention and treatment - compared with £91.45 million (147.54 million euros) on drugs - while the drinks trade, the report stresses, spends £227 million (366 million euros) a year to advertise its products. A clear imbalance. Commenting on the figures, Alcohol Concern Director Eric Appleby said:"The sheer breadth and scale of the problems - in terms of their impact on people's health, relationships and pockets, not to mention on public services, especially the NHS - reinforces the need for urgent joined-up action at a national level. He called for more effort from the government."Currently responsibility for tackling the impact of alcohol misuse falls to a number of different Government departments - including the Department of Health, Home Office and Department of Transport. What we need is a coordinated strategy that concentrates on prevention of harm, and tackles alcohol misuse on all fronts - education, public campaigns, community safety, counselling and treatment. In 2000, 11 to 15 year-olds who admitted to drinking consumed twice as much (10.4 units a week) as their forerunners did in 1990 (5.3 units a week). This figures add weight to the warning from Alcohol Concern.

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