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Alcoholics could be offered pill 'to curb cravings'

Patients with a drinking problem could be offered a once-a-day pill to curb their cravings for alcohol, according to fresh guidelines.

Alcohol
Heavy drinkers would have their cravings for alcohol dulled by Nalmefene, Nice said. Credit: PA

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) wants Nalmefene to be available to heavy drinkers on the NHS, who they feel would benefit from the effects of the drug.

Nalmefene modulates the reward mechanism in the brain, dulling the craving for a drink.

The draft guidance from Nice states Nalmefene should be available as an option for those who are heavy drinkers but not those who require immediate detoxification.

Restricting alcohol 'makes it more desirable'

Placing restrictions on alcohol makes it "more desirable" so children should be given the occasional small sip of wine or beer so it loses its allure, a mother of two told Good Morning Britain.

Bea Marshal admitted to giving her eight and nine-year-old boys a sip of wine at dinner if they asked for it as it was a common reaction to naturally want to drink more if alcohol was forbidden.

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What is illegal for 'adults and under-18s' with alcohol

It is illegal to:

  • To sell alcohol to someone under 18 anywhere.
  • For an adult to buy or attempt to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18.
  • For someone under 18 to buy alcohol, attempt to buy alcohol or to be sold alcohol.
  • For someone under 18 to drink alcohol in licensed premises, except where the child is 16 or 17 years old and accompanied by an adult. In this case it is legal for them to drink, but not buy, beer, wine and cider with a table meal.
  • For an adult to buy alcohol for someone under 18 for consumption on licensed premises, except as above.
  • To give children alcohol if they are under five.

23% of parents 'give child alcohol after exams'

Nearly a quarter of parents give their child an alcoholic drink to celebrate the end of their exams, a survey from a health charity revealed.

Read: Doctors accuse Govt of 'dancing to the tune' of drinks industry

Beer
Most parents were unaware there was a medical reason for setting the alcohol limit at 18. Credit: PA

Drinkaware said their figures revealed how on average 14-17-year-olds would get through nine units of alcohol during the post-exam furore.

That meant teenagers were likely to consume the equivalent of four cans of beer, an entire bottle of wine or a third of a bottle of vodka, the charity said.

Outside of the exam celebration period, more than half (54%) of parents surveyed said they have given their child an alcoholic drink.

The large majority (86%) of parents whose children have asked them for alcohol have given it.

Read: Children Christmas drink warning

Violent crime fall linked to rise in alcohol prices

A young man with a knife.
The number of people injured in serious violence dropped by 12% in 2013 compared to 2012. Credit: Alan Simpson/PA Archive

An increase in alcohol prices is partly responsible for a reduction in binge drinking and serious violence for the sixth consecutive year, a study has claimed.

The number of people injured in serious violence dropped by 12% in 2013 compared to 2012, with more than 32,000 fewer people treated for injuries relating to violence in England and Wales, a Cardiff University report found.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, lead author of the study and director of the violence and society research group at the university, said a change in alcohol habits since 2008 could be one reason for the continued reduction.

He said: "Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youths who don't drink alcohol at all has risen sharply. Also, after decades in which alcohol has become more affordable, since 2008 it has become less affordable.

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Liam Neeson quits drinking to focus more on his acting

Liam Neeson has decided to stop drinking to take on more action roles in Hollywood. Neeson turned to alcohol for comfort after losing his wife, who died from a brain injury incurred after a skiing accident in 2009.

Liam Neeson attends the LA Premiere premiere of 'Non-Stop'. Credit: Dave Bedrosian/Geisler-Fotopress

Telling America's GQ magazine, The Taken star said:

"I gave up drinking about a year ago... I was drinking too much. It started since my wife died. Pinot Noir. That's all I drink. I was never into spirits or liquor, hard liquor. And I gave up the Guinness years ago, because it just - past an age, it sticks to you."

Safest approach in pregnancy is 'not to drink at all'

Women have been told the safest approach in pregnancy is to not drink at all after a recent study found that more than half of women exceed the recommended drinking limits during the first three months of pregnancy.

The Royal College of Obstetricians issued the following advice:

  • The safest approach in pregnancy is to choose not to drink at all
  • No more than one to two units have been shown to be harmful
  • Drinking one to two units no more than once or twice a week has been shown to be harmful
  • One unit of alcohol is equivalent of a half a pint of lager or beer, a glass of wine or a single shot of a spirit
  • Drinking five or more units of alcohol on one occasion is known as binge drinking
  • Regular binge drinking particularly in the early stages, is harmful to a woman and her baby

Read: Middle class women drink 'the most during pregnancy'

Pregnant women should 'avoid all alcohol'

Dr Hilary Jones
Dr Hilary warned women who drank during pregnancy risked causing behavioural, memory and developmental problems in their children. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Women should avoid all alcohol during pregnancy, according to Daybreak's medical editor Dr Hilary Jones.

He said women drinking during pregnancy, particularly in the early stages, would hurt their unborn child and should follow the advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and have "none at all".

There is no safe limit but even small amounts of alcohol can affect the baby," Dr Hilary said.

"The baby after all, starts off as a few grams in weight, a woman might weigh six, seven, eight stone - that is a lot of weight to what she is drinking,

"But the baby is getting all the alcohol that a woman is consuming, through a placenta and a baby's developing liver has not got the ability to detoxify the alcohol."

Read: Middle class women 'drink the most during pregnancy'

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