Daily Archives: 08/03/2014

Alcohol test case

It’s funny how one idea leads to another.  The friend who mentioned Waterloo Road asked if I’d heard on the news about the guy in the States who was suing a casino for lending him $500,000 while he was ‘blacked out’ drunk which he then gambled away.  As the Telegraph reported “Eventually, having had 30 drinks in 17 hours, he blacked out and it was only after he woke up that he realised how much he had lost.”

Whilst looking for this story I found a news report about a landmark test case regarding drinking alcohol whilst pregnant.  This interests me as when I submitted my article to the Guardian for publishing a paragraph was removed by the editor which read:

This is very worrying when research has shown that the leading known cause of people born with learning disabilities in the western world is Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and 1 in 100 live births in the UK and US have neurodevelopmental damage caused by alcohol.  Yet this isn’t brought to our attention.

Why the editor removed it I have no idea and they have final editorial rights so I’m not complaining.  The piece in The Independent was discussing a landmark test case, due to be heard by the Court of Appeal, that could criminalise excessive drinking during pregnancy and it made me think of this removed paragraph about FAS.

The Telegraph article detailed how “It will be argued that a six-year-old girl is the victim of a crime because she suffered brain damage when she was exposed to alcohol in the womb – a risk that her mother was aware of, Sky News has reported.

The case comes amid a 50 per cent rise in Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the past three years, with 313 damaged from exposure to alcohol in the womb in 2012/2013.”

Sue Brett, the adoptive mother of 15-year-old Glenn who was born with FAS after his mother drank excessively, said women need to be better alerted to the dangers.

She told the news channel: “It should be to abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy. You can’t make it a criminal offence if you are still legally saying this is a safe amount to drink or you can drink.

”It needs to be clear from the start that you can’t drink.”

So two recent legal cases where alcohol is under the spotlight and where people are claiming damages because of it’s direct impact or influence.  Is this the thin end of the wedge for the drinks industry, in the same way that the first landmark case about smoking and claims made against the tobacco industry opened the door and led to the truth being exposed about the damaging effect of this other highly addictive substance?