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Regular drinkers to be offered pill to battle alcohol cravings

Drinkers who have half a bottle of wine or three pints a night are to be offered a life-saving pill which helps reduce their alcohol consumption.


Nearly 600,000 people will be eligible to receive the nalmefene tablet to keep their cravings at bay.

Experts claim the drug, which costs £3 a tablet, could save as many as 1,854 lives over five years and prevent 43,074 alcohol-related diseases and injuries.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended the drug's use after trials showed it cut drinking by 61% over six months when used with counselling.

Under new plans, GPs would ask patients about their alcohol intake even when they visit them for unrelated health issues.


  1. London

Alcohol tagging 'sees impressive results' in the US

Alcohol-fuelled criminal behaviour is a real scourge on our high streets, deterring law-abiding citizens from enjoying our great city especially at night, placing massive strain on frontline services, whilst costing businesses and the taxpayer billions of pounds.

I pledged to tackle this booze culture by making the case to Government for new powers to allow mandatory alcohol testing as an additional enforcement option for the courts.

This is an approach that has seen impressive results in the US, steering binge drinkers away from repeated criminal behaviour and I am pleased we can now launch a pilot scheme in London.

– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

Drinkers who offend could wear 'alcohol bracelet'

Those responsible for alcohol-fuelled crimes could be forced to wear a bracelet which monitors their drinking, under a new pilot scheme.

Around one million violent crimes every year are alcohol related. Credit: PA

Offenders convicted of an alcohol related offence in one of four London boroughs - Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Sutton - could be forced to wear the bracelet and face tougher punishments if they drink again.

Up to 150 people are expected to be made to wear the tags for four months to make sure they comply and the scheme will run over the course of a year.

The aim of the scheme is to reduce the costs of alcohol related crime.

According to the Home Office, around one million violent crimes each year are alcohol related.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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