Daily Archives: 20/02/2015

War on Drugs and Wales

I’ve called this post what I have not to incite the Welsh but to make a point.

Substance misuse in Wales 2013-14

When I looked at this graph what I was struck by was how the substance that the Welsh  have the biggest issue with is alcohol.  Our war on drugs focuses heavily on all the other substances bar this one and yet this is the one causing the biggest problem in terms of substance abuse.  Something is wrong with this picture and with our policies and strategies.  Yes we could argue that this is the successful result of the war on drugs but booze isn’t considered a drug in the same way and yet this is the one creating the havoc for people.  I’ll say it again – something is wrong with this picture ……….

It doesn’t even have to be tackled in quite such a dramatic way as drugs do – just implement minimum unit pricing.  After similar analyses for England and Scotland, the simulation of what a minimum unit price for alcohol would do for health, crime and workplace absence in Wales predicts it would substantially save lives and reduce social impact by making (especially poor and heavy) drinkers cut back (read more here).

What’s your poison?

whats your poison

Edited to add: this news headline grabbed my attention too and you can read the full story here

Drink-related deaths up by nearly 50% since start of the millennium, new figures reveal

Alcohol-related deaths among men in Wales have soared by nearly half since the start of the millennium, new figures have revealed.

A report published by the Office of National Statistics found that there was a 46.4% increase in deaths caused by alcohol between 2000 and 2013, up from 209 to 306.

Four men aged between 25 and 29 died due to alcohol in 2013, including one from alcohol-induced pancreatitis and one from alcoholic liver disease.

And the news isn’t much better for women, with the number of alcohol-related deaths increasing from 131 in 2000 to 161 in 2013.

Since 1994, the number of deaths in men and women combined has nearly doubled in Wales.

Edited to add:  24/07/2015 More positive news out of Wales regarding drinking and alcohol fuelled violence:

Scheme to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence ‘encouraging’

A project to curb alcohol-fuelled violent crime in Welsh cities is showing results, a new report has said.

South Wales Police targeted bar staff and drinkers in Cardiff and Swansea.

Of those surveyed after intervention, 54% now “pre-load” with drink before going out – down from 63% – and 36% think it is hard to have fun if they are not drunk, down from 46%.

A report by the Centre for Public Health said the results were “extremely encouraging”.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales Police, Sophie Howe, said: “This report is essential in helping us to… identify how we can do even more to tackle binge drinking.

“We are delighted to see such positive results at such an early stage.”

The campaign was launched during the Six Nations rugby tournament and will run all year, with the next phase coming when new students start at university.

Of the bar staff surveyed, 61% now know it is illegal to serve alcohol to somebody who is already drunk, compared to 48% before.

The report’s lead author, Zara Quigg, said: “Such results are extremely encouraging, however, further intervention is required to continue to prevent drunkenness and associated harms in nightlife settings in south Wales.”

Edited to add: 8th October 2016

More than half of adults in Wales have been harmed by other people’s drinking, following a survey conducted by Public Health Wales. BBC News | Alcohol Policy, UK