Drink and Drugs News DDN December 2018 | Page 5

read the full stories, and more, online www.drinkanddrugsnews.com SCOTS LOOK TO BAN TV ALCOHOL ADS BEFORE 9PM THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT’S NEW ALCOHOL STRATEGY includes a range of plans to tighten marketing regulations. The Scots will ‘press the UK government to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing on television before the 9pm watershed and in cinemas – or else devolve the powers so the Scottish Parliament can act,’ states Alcohol framework 2018: preventing harm. Alcohol misuse now costs Scotland £3.6bn per year, the equivalent of £900 per adult, says the document, which also includes proposals to consult on alcohol marketing in public spaces and online. The 50p minimum unit price will also be reviewed after 1 May 2020, it says, while alcohol producers will be urged to include health information on labels. The framework also states that while the government will work with the drinks industry on projects that ‘can impact meaningfully on reducing alcohol harms’ it will not do so on health policy development, health education or health messaging campaigns – Public Health England’s recent partnership with industry-funded body Drinkaware proved highly controversial (DDN, October, page 5). ‘Our new alcohol framework sets out our next steps on tackling alcohol-related harm,’ said public health minister Joe FitzPatrick. ‘We need to keep challenging our relation - ship with alcohol to save lives. These new measures build on the progress of our 2009 framework which has made an impact by tackling higher-risk drinking, but we want to go further. Scotland’s action is bold and it is brave and, as demonstrated by our world-leading minimum unit pricing policy, we are leading the way in introducing innovative solutions to public health challenges.’ There was ‘strong support’ from the public to limit alcohol marketing and clear evidence that ‘exposure to marketing drives consumption by children and young people,’ said chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Alison Douglas. ‘We believe plans to consult on alcohol marketing restrictions are a positive step towards protecting the vulnerable and challenging alcohol’s prominent role in our society. Likewise, we are pleased to see that the Scottish Government are committed to improving alcohol labelling. It is clearly unacceptable that more information is required on a pint of milk than a bottle of wine.’ Meanwhile a new report from Manchester Metropolitan University and Aquarius urges health and social care practitioners and substance use professionals to ‘rethink the needs of older people with drinking problems’. Increasing numbers of older people are drinking to ‘harmful aLIson DougLas or mildly dependent levels’ says Older people and alcohol: a practice guide for health and social care. ‘Older people seeking treatment for alcohol use are often in poor health and have a range of complex social, health and other care needs associated with their substance use,’ said professor of adult social care at Manchester Metropolitan University, Sarah Galvani. ‘Evidence suggests that the complex health and social care needs of older people with problem alcohol use require a different approach.’ Alcohol framework at www.gov.scot Report at www2.mmu.ac.uk ALL CHANGE A NEW ALCOHOL CHARITY has been launched following the merger of Alcohol Concern with Alcohol Research UK (DDN, April 2017, page 5). Alcohol Change UK’s mission is to ‘significantly reduce serious alcohol harm in the UK’, it states, with an aim of creating ‘five key changes’ of improved knowledge, improved drinking behaviours, shifted cultural norms, better policies and regulation, and more and better support and treatment. ‘Too often, we in the UK remain blind to the sheer scale of serious alcohol harm taking place across our communities,’ said CEO Dr Richard Piper. ‘This harm is massive, but it is not inevitable and it’s not acceptable. Alcohol Change UK’s name, identity and deeply held values reflect this fundamental belief.’ www.alcoholconcern.org.uk www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ‘exposure to marketing drives consumption by children and young people.’ ‘we remain blind to the sheer scale of serious alcohol harm.’ Dr rIcharD PIPer COUNTY CONCERNS ALL CHILDREN, not just the most vulnerable, are at risk of criminal exploitation, says a new county lines report, and agencies should ‘not underestimate the risk of criminal exploitation in their areas’. The report, from Ofsted, CQC, HMI Probation and HMI Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, stresses the importance of learning from past mistakes. ‘Tackling child criminal exploitation, including county lines, is a big challenge for agencies and professionals nationally and locally,’ said Ofsted’s national director for social care, Yvette Stanley. ‘Agencies must make sure that they have the building blocks in place to work quickly and effectively.’ Protecting children from criminal exploitation, human trafficking and modern slavery at www.gov.uk DRINK MYTHS AN ALCOHOL-FREE CHILDHOOD up to 18 is ‘the healthiest and best option’ and if children are going to drink it should never be before the age of 15, says Balance’s What’s the harm campaign. It is a ‘myth’ that allowing children to drink at a younger age makes them less curious about alcohol, the charity states. ‘People mention the French way of giving children alcohol,’ said Balance director Colin Shevills. ‘But France actually has twice the rate of alcohol dependence than the UK.’ www.balancenortheast.co.uk SMALLER STAKES MORE 11-16-YEAR-OLDS had spent their own money on gambling in the past week than had drunk alcohol, taken illegal drugs or smoked cigarettes, according to a Gambling Commission report. Stronger partnerships between regulators and businesses are needed to protect children, says Young people and gambling 2018. Just under 2 per cent of 11-16 year olds are classed as ‘problem gamblers’, with 2.2 per cent considered ‘at risk’. Report at www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk GET TESTED PHE AND NHS ENGLAND have launched a nationwide exercise to identify and treat people who have previously been diagnosed with hepatitis C. While almost 25,000 people in England have accessed new treatments over the last three years – 95 per cent of whom were cured – ‘tens of thousands’ who were diagnosed in the past may not have done so. ‘If you have been at risk of contracting hepatitis C, particularly through injecting drugs – even if you injected only once or in the past – then I urge you to get tested,’ said PHE clinical scientist Dr Helen Harris. Hepatitis C treatment monitoring in England at www.gov.uk December/January 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 5