Calls to combat 'hidden health crisis' of alcoholism

  • Campaigners share their stories about how alcoholism can affect those around you and why the government needs to take action

The government has been called on to tackle the "hidden health crisis" of alcoholism by a group of MPs and experts.

The Commission on Alcohol Harm is calling for minimum unit pricing and restrictions on advertising and marketing - including ending sport sponsorships.They said the situation has been made more urgent by the pandemic and say the full impact the lockdown will have had on people's health will only be made clear when life gets back to normal.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore told ITV News alcohol related hospital admissions and alcohol related deaths were rising each year.

He said there were "some green shoots" when it came to combating the problem, particularly with the decline in drinking seen among young people - but he said older people were drinking more.

Sir Ian said the government had been "dodging" creating an alcohol strategy since 2012.

He said we needed to shift the social norm to move drinking away from the centre of every celebration.

Ceri Walker, whose mother died of alcohol related problems when she was five said people should reach out if they need help.

She said: "Don't think about it as being an alcoholic, but just think could you go sober for a little while, could you cut down, just take small steps and see what a difference it makes to your mental health."

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The Commission on Alcohol Harm raises important issues which we will consider.

“We continue to support a range of evidence-based approaches to reduce the health-related harms of alcohol misuse and as part of our NHS Long Term Plan alcohol care teams will be introduced in hospitals with the highest number of alcohol-related admissions and we expect this to prevent 50,000 admissions from alcohol related harm over five years.

“We are committed to ensuring everyone has access to the right health services.

"Local authorities know their communities best, which is why we have increased funding by £149 million to local authorities this year meaning they have £3.279 billion to spend on public health services, including those for addiction with ring-fenced funding in place.”