Alcohol

Alcohol

Alcohol

Alcohol

Synopsis

This book considers alcohol use and its problems in the UK, taking account of mounting concerns about health and anti-social behavior in the early years of the 21st century. These concerns are set against the decreasing price of alcohol and increasing consumption over the past four decades. The first section of the book establishes the context of alcohol consumption as a driver of health issues, describing the commercial and public policy interests at play and the consequences at individual and societal levels. In the second part, policy areas are established, ranging from price and availability, advertising, law, licensing, education, offending, and drunken driving. The final section looks at the professional responses and training needs of those encountering alcohol-generated problems in their work, as well as early intervention and treatment programs. The book will appeal to those training in public health and social care. Additionally, it will be of interest to managers and policy makers who are wrestling with alcohol issues. (Series: Policy & Practice in Health and Social Care - No. 15)

Excerpt

Alcohol is Scotland’s favourite psychoactive drug, just as it is in every other European country and many others besides. Production, sale and export of alcohol are major elements of the economy. Consumption and problems are currently at their highest in the UK for quite some time and significantly higher still in Scotland. However, a modest reduction in consumption and consequences, in recent years, may be associated with the economic downturn.

The overall aim of this book is to consider alcohol-related problems, in Scotland, in the early twenty-first century, and to adopt a ‘what works’ approach to how these problems may be reduced based on the international research evidence. As a result, some commonly debated themes have been omitted: ‘alcohol education’ because there is little evidence that such approaches reduce alcohol-related harm in their own right; and alcohol advertising because the rapid technological developments in communication make many evidence-informed proposals to control advertising redundant, though advertising successfully influences attitudes among young people, which are predictive of drinking later in life.

Scottish governments, since devolution in 1999, have paid considerable attention to the problems associated with alcohol and made significant inroads into implementing their proposals, perhaps more vigorously than in other parts of the UK. The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 has a clear objective — to consider public health — making it unique in the UK. The Scottish Government published the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill in November 2011and MSPs were urged to offer their support. Substantial developments have taken place in embedding ‘brief interventions’ into healthcare practice. Proposed changes to the devolution agreement, if approved, would allow the Scottish Parliament to reduce the drink driving legal limit.

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