Drink and Drugs News DDN October 2018 | Page 5

read the full stories, and more, online www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ONE IN 20 GLOBAL DEATHS CAUSED BY ALCOHOL, SAYS WHO MORE THAN 3M PEOPLE DIED AS A RESULT OF HARMFUL ALCOHOL USE in 2016, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), representing one in 20 deaths worldwide. More than three quarters of those who died were men, with alcohol now responsible for more than 5 per cent of the global disease burden. Despite some ‘positive global trends’, the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by alcohol is ‘unacceptably high’, particularly in Europe and the Americas, says Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. Of all the deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 per cent were the result of injuries – including traffic accidents and violence – while 21 per cent were due to digestive disorders, 19 per cent to cardiovascular diseases and the remainder the result of cancers, infectious diseases, mental health disorders and other health conditions. Globally, an estimated 2.3bn people are current drinkers, with 237m men and 46m women suffering from alcohol use disorders. These are most common in high-income countries, with prevalence rates of 14.8 and 3.5 per cent for men and women respectively in the European region and 11.5 and 5.1 per cent in the region of the Americas. Although drinking levels in Europe have been falling since the start of the decade, the region still has the highest per capita consumption in the world. Worldwide, 45 per cent of total recorded alcohol consumption is in the form of spirits, 34 per cent beer and 12 per cent wine, with the average consumption among those who drink standing at 33 grams of pure alcohol per day, the equivalent of two 150ml glasses of wine. ‘All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,’ said coordinator of WHO’s management of substance abuse unit, Dr Vladimir Poznyak. ‘Proven, cost-effective actions include increasing taxes on alcoholic drinks, bans or restrictions on alcohol advertising, and restricting the physical availability of alcohol.’ C SUPPORT A NEW RESOURCE providing practical and emotional support to the loved ones of people living with – or at risk of – hepatitis C has been launched by Adfam. ‘Managed well, hepatitis C needn’t interfere too much with family life,’ says Information and advice for the families of people living with hepatitis C. Available at adfam.org.uk. See centre pages of this issue for our pull-out hepatitis C supplement. www.drinkanddrugsnews.com Meanwhile, a new study by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) claims that fewer than 10 per cent of alcohol labels in the UK carry the government’s current 14 units per week guidelines. A review of 320 labels in 12 locations across the country found that most products displayed out of date guidelines and carried no health warnings. ‘Once again we see that the alcohol Dr VlADimir PoznyAk industry cannot be trusted to provide the public with health information,’ said AHA chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore. ‘We all have the right to know what we are drinking and the fact that alcohol increases our risk of seven types of cancer, liver disease, heart disease and stroke. Few of us know or understand these risks or are aware of the CMO’s advice.’ Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 at www.who.int Our right to know at ahauk.org ‘All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs.’ HALF MEASURES PORTUGAL’S ‘HUGELY INFLUENTIAL’ DECRIMINALISATION MODEL does not represent ‘full decriminalisation’, according to an INPUD report. While discussion of the Portuguese model tends to focus on HIV and drug-related deaths, it rarely includes the ‘lived experiences, perspectives, and rights of the drug-using community’, the document says. ‘Interactions with the state and the police, and issues of violence, social exclusion, stigmatisation and discrimination are often entirely omitted from discussion and analysis of decriminalisation in Portugal’, it states, with people who use drugs still ‘stopped, searched, and harassed by the police’. Is decriminalisation enough? Drug user community voices from Portugal at www.inpud.net TAKE ACTION APPLICATIONS TO STUDY Action on Addiction’s September 2019 foundation degree in addictions counselling at the University of Bath are now open. The FDAP- accredited course provides students with the vocational skills necessary to become a practitioner in the treatment field. More information at www.actiononaddiction.org.uk/study-with-us. PROBLEM PLEDGE US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP told a UN event, the ‘Global call to action on the world drug problem’, that he aimed to ‘deliver a drug-free future for all of our children’ by working together with delegate countries to reduce demand, block the illegal drug supply, expand treatment and strengthen international cooperation. Meanwhile a new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy looks at how governments could ‘take control of currently illegal drug markets through responsible regulation’, and calls for reform of the ‘prohibition-based international drug control system’. Regulation: the responsible control of drugs at www.globalcommissionondrugs.org SEEING THE LIGHT THERE ARE 1M FEWER SMOKERS in England than four years ago, according to PHE, with almost 400,000 giving up the habit last year. ‘Millions of people are living healthier lives as a result of our efforts to reduce smoking rates,’ said public health minister Steve Brine. ‘Quitting altogether is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health.’ Statistics at www.smokinginenglan d.info GILMORE GONE THE CO-CHAIR OF PHE’S ALCOHOL LEADERSHIP BOARD has resigned over the agency’s partnership with industry-funded Drinkaware for its ‘Drink Free Days’ campaign. Professor Sir Ian Gilmore had previously expressed objections to the partnership, citing a ‘clear conflict of interest’ between the drinks industry’s objectives and public health goals. The campaign marks the first time that PHE has joined forces with an industry-funded organisation, with a joint letter to the Times from Professor Gilmore and Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, stating that the partnership demonstrated ‘a failure at senior level’ to learn the lessons of how voluntary agreements had been used by the alcohol and tobacco industries to ‘undermine, water down or otherwise neutralise’ policies to cut consumption. October 2018 | drinkanddrugsnews | 5