Britain's alcohol problem and what the UK government is (and is not) doing about it

Nick Heather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Britain is currently experiencing a serious alcohol problem, as shown particularly by a steep increase in rates of liver cirrhosis mortality and by widespread alcohol-related disorder and harm among young people. The UK government introduced two major initiatives in 2004 - radical changes to the licensing laws regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages and an Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England – and these are described and criticised. In the opinion of most UK experts in the alcohol field and in a significant body of public opinion, neither of these developments is likely to lead to a reduction of alcohol-related harm. The UK government appears more concerned to support the welfare of the alcohol industry than to introduce effective measures to limit the damage caused by its products. However, it is speculated in conclusion that reactions to another "long wave" of alcohol consumption and problems may force the government to revise its alcohol policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-236
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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