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Responsible drinking plea as Halloween impacts A&E

A Welsh health board has issued a plea for people to drink responsibly after a surge in alcohol-related injuries on Halloween.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board said the A&E department of Morriston Hospital "was filled with witches, mummies, ghosts and other revellers in fancy dress".

It said patients were either sleeping off the effects of too much alcohol, or being treated for alcohol-related injuries - including from fighting.

The chief of a Welsh health board said incapacitated Halloween revellers had a 'serious impact' on A&E. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Chief Executive Paul Roberts said he was "dismayed" to see some pubs and clubs offering cut-price drinks - some as cheap as 10p - on the night of October 31st.

He slammed the move as "irresponsible" and said people who drink alcohol to excess - and those who make it available - should consider the impact of their actions.

Parents 'overestimate alcohol consumption'

Underage drinking is 'in decline'. Credit: David Jones/PA

Parents in Wales are over-estimating the number of young people who drink alcohol.

According to new figures, from the Alcohol Education Trust, less than a quarter of 11 to 15 year olds think its okay to get drunk.

But parents here thought the figure was much higher.

Official figures show there's currently a downward trend in the number of young people trying and drinking alcohol

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Tories support minimum alcohol pricing in Wales

The Welsh Conservatives are supporting moves to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in Wales. That's despite a controversial decision last year by David Cameron to drop a similar plan for England. The Prime Minister feared it would be 'unworkable' and open to legal challenge.

But the party's Shadow Health Minister in the Assembly, Darren Millar, says it can work in Wales.

Minimum price only targets problem drinkers says minister

Health Minister Mark Drakeford has welcomed today's expert report on minimum alcohol pricing which he says adds to the evidence that the move would help cut problem drinking.

And he says it won't have any impact on social drinkers.

Most people whose budgets are tight are sensible drinkers, the drink they buy will already be above the 50p minimum price per unit we propose. The evidence in today's report is that this will not have an impact on people who are living in pretty modest circumstances. It will help us to target people whose drinking has gone beyond that."

Most people whose budgets are tight are sensible drinkers, the drink they buy will already be above the 50p minimum price per unit we propose. The evidence in today's report is that this will not have an impact on people who are living in pretty modest circumstances. It will help us to target people whose drinking has gone beyond that.

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister

Your Views: A minimum price for alcohol in Wales?

The price of a drink could go up in Wales if the Welsh Government takes the advice of experts and put a minimum of 50p a unit on a drink.

Experts say alcohol in Wales should cost at least 50p a unit. Credit: PA

Plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol have been backed by a panel advising ministers on substance misuse.

Experts said the measure would protect vulnerable people, boost public health and improve community life. It could become law in 2015.

We'd like to know what your opinions are. Would you be happy to pay more for the cheapest alcohol and what effect to you think it will have on Wales?

Email us at wales@itv.com or at facebook or on twitter @ITVWales

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Health minister: 'Indisputable evidence price of alcohol matters'

The health minister Mark Drakeford says today's report supports the view that a minimum unit pricing of alcohol will help prevent alcohol misuse in Wales.

The Welsh Government first introduced the proposals in a public health White Paper in April which also included a ban on e-cigarettes in public places.

"There is indisputable evidence that the price of alcohol matters. It is no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has improved substantially so has alcohol-related death and disease.

“A minimum unit price will make a strong contribution to preventing alcohol overuse and misuse and reducing alcohol-associated illnesses. The panel’s report supports this view. “We will now develop our proposals further with a view to introducing the Public Health Bill in early 2015.”

– Professor Mark Drakeford

Independent panel calls for minimum alcohol pricing

The Welsh Government should introduce the minimum unit pricing of alcohol, an independent health panel has recommended.

Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government’s Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse (APoSM)says it would help to address alcohol-related harm among people most affected by hazardous and harmful levels of drinking.

Wales has a higher rate of alcohol-related deaths than England. There were 504 alcohol-related deaths in 2012.

In the last 10 years, alcohol misuse accounted for more than 5,000 deaths in England and Wales.

“Alcohol health and social harm problems are preventable. Expert evidence and research confirms cheaper drinks are favoured by those who drink hazardously or harmfully, and a minimum unit price would have a disproportionate targeting effect on problematic drinking, reducing alcohol problems and achieving health and other benefits for individuals and our communities as a whole."

– Kyrie Ll James, chair of the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse

Last year, the UK Government made a controversial u-turnon the issue due to a 'lack of convincing evidence' that it would have an impact on alcohol consumption.

Health Minister: 'E-cigarettes could normalise smoking behaviour'

Wales' Health Minister Mark Drakeford will introduce a White Paper later, setting out a number of new law proposals to tackle some of Wales' major public health challenges.

His proposals include a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit, and a restriction on the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

Alcohol and tobacco contribute to many life-threatening illnesses and are major causes of persistent inequalities in health.

There is indisputable evidence that the price of alcohol matters. It's no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has increased substantially, so has alcohol-related disease. A minimum unit price will make a strong contribution to preventing alcohol overuse and misuse and reducing alcohol-related illnesses.

I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales' smoking ban. That's why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places.

I am also concerned that their use in enclosed places could normalise smoking behaviour. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and I want to minimise the risk of a new generation becoming addicted to this drug.

– Mark Drakeford, Health Minister for Wales
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