Government must get a grip on 'drinking to forget' culture
12 Oct 2012Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, urges the government to get a grip on older drinkers’ £800m ‘drinking to forget culture’. The taxpayers' bill for the treatment of people aged 55 to 74 who were admitted to hospital for alcohol-related reasons was £825.6 million - 13 times higher than the £63.8 million bill for 16- to 24-year-olds, Alcohol Concern have revealed.
Diane Abbott said:
‘These figures are concerning, but so is the deafening silence we’re hearing from the government
on these issues. The government has got to get a grip on proper prevention, instead of splurging money on treating the damage we’re seeing in hospitals. I don’t think the government appreciates that high levels of drinking among older generations is often linked to life changes such as retirement or bereavement, or feelings of boredom, loneliness and depression. My concern is that it’s a
silent ‘drinking to forget’ culture that has become engrained.
‘We must address the root causes. But as a start, the government needs to cut through the dither
and move on minimum pricing. We also need to do things like reform the licensing system to place a duty on local authorities to promote, take into consideration, protect and improve public health when granting or renewing licences.’
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