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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 00:52 GMT 01:52 UK
Alcohol 'worse problem than drugs'
Alcohol consumption amongst teenagers has increased
Alcohol consumption amongst teenagers has increased
People see alcohol abuse as a more serious problem than drug misuse, according to a report published by the charity Alcohol Concern.

The report says just over 58% feel alcohol misuse is the more serious social problem.

And it says twice as many people are dependent on alcohol than all other drugs, including prescription drugs.

The charity, which compiled findings from several surveys and pieces of research, is calling for action to tackle the problem.

Jonathon Ross
Jonathon Ross: 'Drink is too firmly ingrained'
Eric Appleby, director of Alcohol Concern, said: "Alcohol misuse remains the Cinderella issue for national and local policymakers.

"We're hoping that issuing our report during the election campaign - at a time when it can be circulated to candidates of all political persuasions - will help to throw the spotlight on alcohol problems and encourage much-needed action."

Celebrities and health experts have also joined Alcohol Campaign's bid to highlight the problems associated with alcohol abuse in the report 'Alcohol's on Everyone's Lips'.

TV presenter Jonathon Ross, newsreader Jon Snow, journalist Nick Ross and radio psychiatrist Professor Anthony Clare joined health experts to back the campaign

Jonathan Ross said: "Drink is a major problem but is too firmly ingrained as 'acceptable' behaviour and as a legal drug.

'Irresponsible'

"Alcohol abuse needs to be presented, and repositioned, as an irresponsible and dangerous thing - in much the same way that the tobacco industry has been targeted."

Eric Appleby told BBC News Online the involvement of famous faces such as Jonathan Ross was important.

"He's seen as a guy who's up for a laugh, and if he is willing to say that, then there's possibly something in it," he said.

"What we're seeing is a growing recognition of the public that alcohol has its downside."

Alcohol facts
Alcohol misuse costs UK up to 6bn a year
One person in 25 is dependent on alcohol
One in four men and one in seven women drink more than recommended levels
In 40% of violent crime, the offender was under the influence of alcohol
Alcohol Concern said 79% of people think the government should do more to tackle the level of alcohol abuse in society.

Seventy per cent think the UK would be a "healthier and better place to live" if the amount of alcohol drunk was reduced.

And 47% know someone who they would describe as having an alcohol problem.

Dr Ian Banks, president of the Men's Health Forum, said in the report: "Statistics on links between alcohol and crime, suicide, accidents, assault and ill health are truly frightening."

Rosa Della-Tolla, chairwoman of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counsellors, said she was surprised only 58% thought alcohol was a bigger problem than drugs, which she said received attention because the problem was more sensational.

"Alcohol is accepted. But alcohol is in fact a lot more harmful. It causes more harm to more people than drugs," she said.

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See also:

26 Feb 01 | Health
Drug-related deaths soar
20 Feb 01 | Health
UK children top drugs league
20 Feb 01 | Health
Teenage drink and drugs in Europe
01 Feb 01 | Health
6bn bill for alcohol abuse
16 Jan 01 | Health
Drink injury link confirmed
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