Monthly Archives: April 2015

Experiencing Recovery

Thanks to Paul over at The Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism for sharing this video originally.  It’s some footage of a presentation looking at the recovery experience given by William White a Senior Research Consultant in the US who I remember seeing interviewed as part of the documentary film The Anonymous People last year

It was the slide at the end that really struck me.  He had done a review of 415 studies in 2012 and found that 5-15% of all US adults were in remission from substance use disorder (SUD, not including nicotine).  That’s 25 -40 million citizens.  Here in the UK that would be 2.5 – 7.4 million.

And more amazingly the rate of recovery was much higher than any statistics I had heard before.  Since 2000 the recovery rate in community populations was 53.9% and 50.3% in clinical studies. So over half were living in recovery and yet the meme that I have always heard is that it is a chronic relapsing condition and that success rates were small.  As William White says this should ‘in and of itself challenge the public perception and growing pessimism around recovery‘.

As Paul said we need this to be the research focus of the future.  As William White says we need to stop studying the pathology of addiction and start researching and following the recovery experience.  I’ll drink something non-alcoholic to that! 😉

 

 

Deaths connected to alcohol rise in North East England

From The Guardian in February they reported that deaths connected to alcohol had risen in the North East of England.

The north east has the second highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in England, latest figures reveal.

New figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that while death rates in recent years have stabilised, twice as many people in the north east are suffering an alcohol-related death compared to 20 years ago.

There are 22.3 deaths per 100,000 men in the north east, compared to the England average of 17.8 per 100,000.

For women, the average in the north east is 11.6 deaths per 100,000, compared to the England average of 8.7 deaths per 100,000.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “It’s especially saddening that so many people in England die from alcohol-related causes before they have reached the age of 55.

“While this latest data is shocking enough, these statistics are also a relatively conservative estimate, with the true figure likely to be higher.

“It’s no coincidence that as death rates rise, cheap alcohol has continued to be more accessible. Alcohol in the UK is now 61 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980, but the costs to our health and the wider economy are rising.

“To save lives, we must make alcohol less affordable. People are dying because alcohol is far too cheap, it’s available at all hours and it’s far too heavily promoted.

“A minimum unit price of at least 50p will make cheap, strong alcohol less affordable to the vulnerable, younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink it and suffer the consequences.”

Balance North East are doing a fantastic job of supporting those with alcohol dependence and misuse issues and if you live in the North East and would like their help you can visit their website here.

 

Lung Donors’ Alcohol Habits Affect Recipient Recovery, Study Shows

This is from the Cystic Fibrosis News Today website and reports on a research study that showed that lung donor’ alcohol habits affected the recipients recovery.

A study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research revealed that the heavy drinking habits of lung donors can influence the outcome of lung transplantation in recipient patients. The study is entitled “Heavy Alcohol Use in Lung Donors Increases the Risk for Primary Graft Dysfunction.”

Substantial alcohol consumption is recognized as a contributing factor for a higher risk of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The reason underlying this phenomenon is linked to a higher generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that correspond to free radicals and chemically reactive molecules, which contain oxygen and are natural byproducts of oxygen metabolism. High levels of ROS have the potential to cause several harmful effects, like damage to cell structures.

Lung transplant is considered an effective, last-resort treatment in individuals that suffer from severe lung conditions and who have lost most of their lung function. In the procedure, the diseased lungs of the patient are replaced by healthy lungs, usually from a deceased donor.

In lung transplantation, the health condition of the donor lungs plays an important role. The team’s goal was to evaluate the hypothesis that lung donors with heavy drinking habits could induce a higher susceptibility to lung injury in the recipients after transplantation. For this purpose, a retrospective cohort study was conducted in 192 lung transplant recipients based on the reported history of the donors and the outcome after transplantation. Donors were divided according to their background in three different groups: Heavy Alcohol Use, Moderate Alcohol Use, and No Alcohol Use.

The researchers found that recipients of lungs from Heavy Alcohol Use donors took more time to be weened off of mechanical ventilation after transplantation in comparison with donors who had Moderate Alcohol Use or No Alcohol Use. In addition, the probability of developing severe primary graft dysfunction (PGD) was 8.7 times higher in recipients of lungs from Heavy Alcohol Use donors compared to No Alcohol Use donors. PGD can be caused by several factors and refers to the injury to the transplanted lung; it is responsible for a substantial morbidity and mortality after lung transplantation. In this case, researchers believe that PGD is the result of a poorer gas exchange in lungs from Heavy Alcohol Use donors, which subsequently forced the recipients to be under mechanical ventilation for a longer period of time after the transplant.

The researchers emphasized that it is essential to know the donor’s history concerning alcohol consumption so that the recipients with higher PGD risk can be identified.

So it would seem NO body systems and structures are unaffected by alcohol and if you drink and smoke (which I did) then you have a double whammy of impact on your lungs …..

Head of NHS says that tackling cheap booze is urgent priority

The Telegraph reported that the head of the NHS is calling for increases in the price of cheap alcohol amid warnings that heavy drinking is taking a “huge” toll on Accident & Emergency departments.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, signalled that action on alcohol pricing should be an immediate priority for the next Government, as he disclosed that its relative price has halved in three decades.

The head of the health service said the NHS needed to “stand up and be counted” to highlight the impact of alcohol on A&E departments around the country, to increase pressure on the next Government to tackle the issue.

Mr Stevens said heavy drinking and soaring levels of sugar consumption by the British public were now two of the most urgent health problems facing the nation, as he spoke at a King’s Fund event about the challenges facing the NHS.

“Alcohol together with sugar is one of the debates we really need the new Government to address very early in the next Parliament,” he told an event at the Kings Fund.

The head of the NHS is calling for increases in the price of cheap alcohol amid warnings that heavy drinking is taking a “huge” toll on Accident & Emergency departments.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, signalled that action on alcohol pricing should be an immediate priority for the next Government, as he disclosed that its relative price has halved in three decades.

The head of the health service said the NHS needed to “stand up and be counted” to highlight the impact of alcohol on A&E departments around the country, to increase pressure on the next Government to tackle the issue.

Mr Stevens said heavy drinking and soaring levels of sugar consumption by the British public were now two of the most urgent health problems facing the nation, as he spoke at a King’s Fund event about the challenges facing the NHS.

“Alcohol together with sugar is one of the debates we really need the new Government to address very early in the next Parliament,” he told an event at the Kings Fund.

“The fact is that the relative price of alcohol has come down by 48 per cent between 1980 and 2010,” he said.

So that is something that we would be wanting the next Government to take a very clear look at and wanting the health service to stand up and be counted, in those debates, recognising the huge impact that alcoholism and alcohol-induced emergency demand has all across the health service.”

He said overuse of alcohol was taking a huge toll on A&E departments and on hospital emergency admissions.

Latest figures show that 20 per cent of A&E attendances are alcohol related, a figure which rises to 80 per cent during peak weekend periods on Friday and Saturday nights.

Each year, more than one million hospital admissions in England are alcohol related, with a 60 per cent rise in such admissions in those aged between 15 and 29 in the last decade.

The Coalition considered plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, before putting the plans on hold, saying more evidence is required to see if it would help tackle problem drinking.

Last month senior health professionals called for a 50 pence minimum unit price for alcohol, which they say could help tackle a culture of “excessive consumption”. Such limits would mean that most bottles of wine or four-packs of strong lager could not be sold for less than £4.50.

Doctors have also said more should be done to help A&E units struggling to cope with violent binge drinkers, and abuse from alcoholics.

Dr Cliff Mann, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, in January provoked controversy with calls for the police to arrest more drunks in order to reduce pressures on casualty units.

The A&E consultant urged the police to adopt a “zero-tolerance” strategy towards binge drinking that would see troublesome drunks arrested, charged and given a criminal record.

During the King’s Fund event yesterday, Mr Stevens singled out a number of current failings by the health service which he said were “not acceptable”.

The NHS chief executive, who took up post last April, said: “We have got to have some righteous anger about how things currently are.”

I am going hoarse with righteous anger repeating the same news stories and calls for a need to act on this issue and yet it continues to fall on deaf ears from the powers that be.  Again I ask – why is that and will the General Election in 3 weeks change things?

If you’re wondering what the main parties manifesto pledges are with regard to alcohol you can read them here:

Main party manifestos quiet on alcohol policy and minimum pricing

Ties to liquor industry hamstring Health Promotion Agency, say critics

This news story came from the medical press in New Zealand and discusses how critics argue that ties to the liquor industry hamstring the Health Promotion Agency’s work.

Public health experts have condemned the agency charged with offering sober guidance on alcohol, claiming it is compromised by industry and Government pressure.

In an opinion piece published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today, health experts claim the Government’s response to the toll of alcohol-related harm is “in crisis”, eroded by ties to the booze industry.

The agency responsible for promoting a healthy response to alcohol, the Health Promotion Agency, “was compromised from the start”, the article says, and was given less autonomy to criticise and assess government policy than its predecessor, the Alcohol Advisory Council, which it replaced in 2012.

With responsibility for prompting everything from sunscreen use to healthy eating, the HPA’s focus on alcohol was diminished and often reduced to social marketing campaigns, with “dubious effectiveness”, the authors say.

HPA chairman Lee Mathias was not available yesterday but the agency said in a statement the claims were “completely wrong”.

Head of research, policy and advice Andrew Hearn said the agency was involved in evaluating alcohol law changes, and researching the density of liquor outlets and booze-buying habits. He rejected suggestions it was less independent.

Professor Kypros Kypri, of Newcastle University in Australia, one of the co-authors of the medical journal article, said the HPA appeared to be hamstrung. “It is to the benefit of a government that is industry-focused to have a less critical voice out there.”

Kypri was also concerned about former National MP Katherine Rich, chief executive of food and liquor interest group the Food Grocery Council, sitting on the HPA board.

Author Nicky Hager claimed in his book Dirty Politics that Rich hired PR consultant Carrick Graham, who paid blogger Cameron Slater to attack alcohol and food industry critics.

Rich denies the allegations. She did not respond to requests for an interview yesterday but said in a statement that it was “disappointing that a respected journal has taken to publishing last year’s conspiracy theories”.

“I put my heart and soul into playing my part in the effective governance of the HPA.”

 – The Dominion Post

So the same story irrespective of where you live.  The drinks industry getting in the way of public health ……

Setting achievable goals and the dose effect

This is reblogged from the excellent Alcohol IBA blog about setting achievable goals and the dose effect:

Mentioning either ‘units’ or the ‘guidelines’ alone can trigger a sceptical response from a drinker. I’m sure you’ve heard someone protest that “units are confusing” or that they “don’t believe the guidelines”. How should we respond to such statements or beliefs?

Firstly we should accept that people may have ambivalent attitudes about their drinking and may appear dubious or dismissive of health advice we may offer. They may also be right; units can be confusing and hard to keep track of, and we can’t take a ‘one size fits all’ health guideline too literally.

However the principle behind understanding units and applying these to the guideline is important. Consuming any drug – including alcohol – can be considered in terms of the ‘dose effect’ (or the dose-response relationship). Essentially, the greater the dose consumed, the greater the chance of unwanted (as well as perhaps wanted) effects. The recommended guidelines therefore set out the approximate ‘dose’ (in units) which alcohol can be consumed with a low risk of negative effects.

how muchA crucial consideration here is that there is no clear ‘threshold effect’, or no point at which the dose the longer matters. Put simply, the more you drink, the greater the risks . This is important because even if someone says ‘forget the guidelines, I’m never going to stick to them’, they still may be open to considering the fact that 5 pints is still less risky than 6.

There is evidence that some people who drink to get drunk only consider their ‘limits’ in terms of behaviour and whether they are ‘in control’. As such, health guidelines may not feel relevant for them. But emphasising that reducing health or behavioural risks still applies in terms of how much they drink. One message that has been found to be possibly more appealing is to try and ‘drink 2 less’, rather than perhaps ‘only drink 2’! And perhaps more importantly, it may feel much more achievable.

Now the purist, all or nothing part of me, disapproves of this because for me it wasn’t the answer but actually this was part of my journey too.  We have to meet people where they are and if this works for them then who I am to disagree?  Plus if you are drinking over a bottle of wine a night and drinking 2 less means you are able to reduce the amount you are drinking enough to not require medical support with stopping then this makes it less daunting and more doable which has to be a good thing.  So having used the 7t’s —take time to think the thing through, or as Prim would say responding rather than reacting, I see it quite differently.  What do you think?

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to be extended in England

This news story was covered by the BBC News in February and shared the good news that family drug and alcohol courts are to be extended in England 🙂

Courts which help parents deal with drug or alcohol addiction so they can keep their children are to be opened in more areas of England.

London has had a Family Drug and Alcohol Court for seven years, and courts have opened more recently in Gloucestershire and Milton Keynes.  More will now open in areas including East Sussex, Kent and Medway, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, and West Yorkshire.  Funding for the expansion comes from the Department for Education.

Most families that come into care proceedings have at least one parent with a drink or drug problem.  Unlike the traditional family court, the FDAC has its own team of experts and doctors – it is often described as a “therapeutic” process.  Parents come up before the court every fortnight, seeing the same judge every time.

Usually their children are placed temporarily with other family members or in foster care, while the parents concentrate on their detox, therapy and treatments – an intensive programme usually taking 26 weeks.  They undergo regular testing to make sure they are not secretly drinking or taking drugs.

An evaluation last year of the London FDAC by Brunel University, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, found 35% of mothers managed to kick their addictions, so their children could be returned safely to them, compared with 19% of mothers who go through ordinary family courts.  However, the sample group was relatively small: just over 200 families in all.

The London FDAC only sits once a week, and deals with a relatively small number of cases, about 30 a year at the moment.  Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division of the High Court, said: “I consider FDAC as one of the most important and innovative developments in public family law in decades.

“I am a strong supporter and believe that its combination of therapy, offered by the multi-disciplinary team, and adjudication and direction using the authority of the court is the right approach for parents suffering from addiction.”  He added: “The process delivers better outcomes for the children and the parents subject to it and achieves this in a manner which respects the humanity of the parents.”

This FDAC extension is being funded by a £2.5m grant from the Department for Education.  Children and Family Minister Edward Timpson MP said: “Since 2008, the FDAC has thrown an invaluable lifeline to hundreds upon hundreds of families.”  He said extending its work would deliver “life-changing results for families across the country”.

 The court’s founder, District Judge Nicholas Crichton, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “In the FDAC, we have seen some parents demonstrate a remarkable capacity to change in response to our more constructive, empathetic approach.“These people have got their lives in a terrible mess, but they love their children… many of them dearly want to provide good enough care for their children.”
“Importantly, FDAC has the support of parents themselves, which is crucial to its success.”The extension should mean about a quarter of English family courts have an FDAC.  But, as in London, these courts will sit once a week and hear a relatively small number of cases. 

Hundreds of families may now go through FDAC every year – but according to the court service Cafcass, more than 18,000 children were involved in care proceedings in England in 2013-14.  FDAC director Sophie Kershaw said: “We don’t want to go too fast. Each region will have different needs, and we want to evaluate their work as we go forward.”

Cathy Ashley, chief executive of Family Rights Group, a charity which supports families whose children are the subject of local authority involvement, said she was a “big fan” of FDAC.  “My only concern is the numbers who will benefit from this roll out will be minuscule compared to the thousands of families going through care proceedings,” she said.  “I’m also concerned that government funding is only for one year, and progress might not be sustained.”

This is good news for children and families who are struggling with addiction and here’s hoping the funding continues and further courts are opened across the country.

Should you be worried about your student son or daughter’s drinking?

This was from a news story in The Guardian back in February looking at whether you should be worried about your student son or daughter’s drinking if they are away at university?

“University drinking culture concerns me,” says Kara Watkins, a second-year history student at the University of Nottingham. “But we continue to drink because it’s fun, it’s cheap – and to be honest if we weren’t drunk I don’t really know what else we would do.”

For students, alcohol can be as much a part of university life as lectures. Much of student culture – freshers’ week, sports initiations and late nights out – is associated with heavy drinking, right up to a celebratory beverage on graduation day.

So if you’re the parent or friend of a student, how can you tell whether their drinking is just part-and-parcel of the university experience, or if they are drinking alcohol in an unhealthy way? And if you decide it’s the latter, how can you help them?

“Drinking consumes university life,” says Watkins. “Uni club nights aren’t that fun. You pretty much have to be drunk to tolerate the clubs, even the good ones with good music – it’s not an atmosphere where you would want to be sober.”

It is not clear whether students drink more than their non-student peers; while the NHS Choices website states that “studies show that students are more likely to drink, smoke and take drugs than the general population,” research by charity Drink Aware found no difference between students and others of the same age.

But young people are more prone to binge drinking. Evidence from the Office of National Statistics shows that in 2012, 27% of 16- to 24-year-old’s had drunk heavily at least once in the past week – more than any other age group.

Steve Hewish, service manager at Addaction Lincolnshire, says: “Anyone who drinks to excess or in an uncontrolled fashion could be considered to be at risk of forming a dependency on alcohol.”

While alcoholism – where you become physically dependent on alcohol and experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop – is not something that affects the vast majority of students, many more may be abusive in their use of alcohol.

A 2010 study of a university and its partner colleges in the East Midlands showed that 51.9% of those surveyed drank alcohol at “hazardous” levels, and 3.6% “drank at levels considered at risk of dependency”. Common signs of alcohol abuse include repeatedly failing to meet responsibilities, such as attending lectures or seminars, because of your drinking. Blacking out and forgetting what happened the night before is also a sign of alcohol misuse.

As a parent, you may not gain much insight into what your child’s life is like at university. But there could be signs of alcohol abuse; if they drink every night when they come home for the holidays, for example. If you are friends with them on Facebook, you might see photos of them acting irresponsibly or dangerously on nights out.

More serious signs include losing interest in activities they previously enjoyed (such as sport or music) because they don’t include alcohol, or being barred from pubs or having involvement with the police due to anti-social behaviour when they drink.

If you are worried about someone’s drinking, whether it is your child or a friend at university, the first step is to talk to them. Advice from rehab clinic Castle Craig states that you should try and be calm and caring, rather than confrontational, as being judgmental will just make the person defensive and ashamed. Castle Craig also point out that often the first attempt at raising the subject won’t be successful, so it’s worth trying two or three times.

If they recognise that they have been drinking too much, then there are support services available, both within and outside their university. Find out the number of their university advice or counselling service, or suggest they contact their personal tutor if drinking has been affecting their academic performance.

Charities such as Alcohol Concern have advice lines, and there is self-help information available online. Setting clear limits – such as three alcohol-free days a week, and a maximum drinks allowance on the other days – is a good way of introducing structure and control to drinking, if it hasn’t reached the point of dependency.

Student Georgie Robbins went through a period where she relied on drinking. “The only confidence I would get was from drinking. Being drunk was the only time I felt normal.”

She had to leave her course because she had got so behind with her work, but continued to drink and fell out with her friends. “That was when I decided I needed to give it up. I was slowly losing my life. Now I am doing an online course, sharing experiences and feeling a lot healthier.”

Sport and music definitely involved booze in my youth so I’m not sure about that line in the article but otherwise it’s informative 🙂

Diageo to launch careful drinking campaign

This news feature looking at ‘Diageo to launch careful drinking campaign’ was in the Irish Examiner in February.

Diageo, the country’s largest drinks company and owner of Guinness, is to pour millions into a public awareness campaign aimed at preventing excessive drinking.

However, the Stop Out-Of-Control Drinking initative has brought accusations that the company is using a public health concern for PR purposes.

Campaign chairman Fergus Finlay, the chief executive of Barnardos, has also been forced to defend his decision to accept the drinks company’s approach to be chair and to use its money.

He said he and the other board members, who include health professionals, had taken a lot of convincing that Diageo’s claims to want to be part of the solution to problem drinking were genuine. He said he had an undertaking that the company would not try to influence campaign activities.

“It will be up to people to make up their own minds whether the campaign is honest and truthful,” he said. “Get involved, suspend judgment, and if you think it’s spin, walk away.”

The campaign is beginning with a series of advertisements plus meetings for the public and for experts and professionals which will take place in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway throughout March.

An action plan based on feedback from those meetings will be published in the summer and the aim is make out-of-control drinking socially unacceptable by 2021.

David Smith, head of Diageo in Ireland and a member of the campaign board, said no limit had been put on the company’s financial commitment to the campaign which he estimates will spend €1m by the summer.

That figure is only a fraction of the company’s annual marketing spend in Ireland. It spends €10m on outdoor billboard campaigns alone and more on other forms of advertsing and sponsorship deals.

Mr Smith claimed, however, that the industry’s initiative, drinkaware.ie, was having an effect on attitudes towards excessive drinking and Diageo wanted to do more.

“I’m the father of two boys aged 12 and five so I’m concerned about alcohol misuse,” he said. “I want them to grow up in a society that does not encourage them to drink to excess. I would love it to be totally uncool to get drunk.”

However, senator Jillian Van Turnhout, former head of the Children’s Rights Alliance and an outspoken critic of marketing tactics in the alcohol industry, accused Diageo of trying to “dilute” the issue.

She described the campaign as “a narrative designed by the drinks industry”. “Alcohol related harm is a public health issue not a PR exercise,” she said.

Ruairi McKiernan, the founder of youth organisation SpunOut.ie, also objected to Diageo’s involvement. “It strikes me as Shell being involved with the environmental movement — a drinks industry version of greenwashing,” he said.

Alcohol Action Ireland, the charity dedicated to tackling alcohol misuse, was not asked to become involved. A spokesperson said only strict laws on alcohol pricing, availability, and marketing would change drinking habits and the drinks industry was opposed to these

Mr Finlay offered to address concerns and plans are being made for him to meet with the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Alcohol Misuse.

The campaign is backed by celebrities such as Una Foden, Kian Egan, and Ardal O’Hanlon, as well as health professionals including TV GP Ciara Kelly. Details are on www.rolemodels.ie.

This was also covered by Breaking News Ireland where they reported that social campaigner and founder of youth website spunout.ie, Ruairi McKiernan, is not convinced.

“What we’re saying is a new tactic from the drinks industry to try and subvert national consciousness to bring on board the expertise the skills and the credibility of the youth and community sector – including Fergus Finlay, who many people respect, and rightfully so.

“It’s a feel-good offensive and it can’t work,” he said.

What do you think?  My thoughts?  Why weren’t Alcohol Action Ireland not asked to be involved if they were serious about this campaign?

Half of attacks ‘alcohol-related’

From the Daily Mail recently a report that says half of violent attacks are ‘alcohol related’.

The majority of violent attacks on adults involved alcohol and often took place after the traditional pub closing time, analysis of the latest crime figures has shown.

Of the more than 1.3 million violent incidents reported in England and Wales for the year 2013/14, some 53% occurred after one of the parties had been drinking.

Analysis of the latest crime figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed men were far more likely to be victims of alcohol-related violence (62%) compared with women (38%).

Two-thirds of violence between strangers also involved alcohol, while one-third of domestic violence occurred after drinking, the figures revealed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the proportions of violent incidents that were alcohol-related increased as the day progressed – from 23% of violent incidents between noon and 6pm, to 52% between 6pm and 10pm, and 83% between 10pm and midnight.

The trend continued into the early hours – with alcohol featuring in 84% of all violent incidents between midnight and 6am.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, violent incidents at the weekend were twice as likely to involve alcohol (70%) as during the week.

Andrew Brown, director of policy with charity DrugScope, said: “Today’s statistics on alcohol-related violence show the extent of the problem, with more than half of all violent incidents involving alcohol.

“DrugScope’s state of the sector report, published today, found that almost half of substance misuse services are seeing an increased demand for alcohol treatment. We also know that every £1 invested in alcohol treatment saves £5 in health, care and criminal justice costs.

“Making sure that people who need treatment are able to get it must be an important part of the response to alcohol-related violence.”

Analysis of the ONS statistics showed 13% of all threats to kill offences involved alcohol, while some 43% of assaults on police officers occurred after drinking.

The figures also showed the most likely time, for every day of the week, that alcohol-related crime would be recorded.

This included 23.00-23.59 on a Friday (17% of all the day’s incidents), 00.00-00.59am on a Saturday (14%), and 01.00-01.59am on a Sunday (16%).

Some 9% of all alcohol-related offending on a Monday took place during the hour from 1am.

Additional analysis on the nature of some alcohol-related violence was also provided from the previous year’s crime statistics, as well as separate figures from some police forces.

The figures also show the number of incidents involving the offender being under the influence of alcohol to have dropped by more than 150,000 between 2012/13 and the following year. There were 704,000 such incidents reported in the latest batch of annual figures – the lowest in two decades.

A spokesman for the Portman group, which represents alcohol producers, said: ” It is good news that alcohol-related violent crime has fallen by 18% in just one year.

“But alcohol-related harms still remain and some areas suffer more than others. The best way to support these communities is to get local businesses, police, local authorities and health services working together to improve town centres, tackle harmful drinking and make our high streets safer places to enjoy.”

Ask for evidence decided to ask Mr Brown for evidence behind this statement to see if it was backed up by anything or was just the position of the  charity.  Mr Brown tweeted a reply 8 minutes after we had tweeted about the Ask for Evidence. He pointed us to a peer reviewed study, published in the BMJ: UKATT Research Team (2005) BMJ, 544. You can read more here: http://askforevidence.org/articles/a-speedy-response

And then this BBC news story also highlighted that about half of all arrests on the Isle of Man involve alcohol, the island’s chief constable has revealed.

Gary Roberts also reported to the Licensing Court that two-thirds of people arrested over the age of 62 were under the influence.  He described the Isle of Man’s current licensing legislation as “hopeless, outdated and not fit for purpose”.

Mr Roberts revealed the statistics during a three-yearly hearing at the Isle of Man Licensing Court.  “Everyone we arrest for causing criminal damage after midnight is drunk,” he added.

“The licensing legislation on the Isle of Man goes back over 50 years and it needs to change fundamentally.”

The report shows that men over 60 are abusing alcohol more than any other age group.

I find it revealing that Drugscope report almost half of substance misuse services are seeing an increased demand for alcohol treatment.  It is not the traditional illegal drugs that people are requiring help with but that other socially accepted legal drug instead …….