Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Friday, March 5, 1999 Published at 00:38 GMT


Alcohol abuse targeted

Bar staff may be trained to be more socially responsible

The drinks industry has called for a major drive to target serious alcohol abuse.

The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA) says policies should concentrate on people with a serious drink problem, rather than on raising fears among moderate drinkers.

It has written to Health Minister Tessa Jowell calling for the government to join forces with pubs, breweries and retailers to thrash out the best way to tackle the problem.

The BLRA said training programmes for licensees and modern design of pubs and restaurants had helped reduce alcohol-related public order problems.

The industry is also considering the introduction of training-based qualifications for licensees which will place a heavy emphasis on social responsibility.

The report said: "The industry has invested very heavily in refurbishing pubs and in new buildings to give public houses a more open and less intimidating atmosphere, which is attractive to women and to families.

"This discourages rowdy and inappropriate behaviour. The use of well-designed premises, which can be managed more easily ... contributed to a more comfortable atmosphere.

"Clearly this investment has been commercially carried out with expectations of attractive returns on the capital invested, but also in the belief that such outlets are a socially responsible investment - the product of enlightened self interest."

Advisory committee

[ image: Alcohol can become a serious problem]
Alcohol can become a serious problem
The BRLA also suggested that an "advisory committee on the misuse of alcohol" be established.

This would be made up of the drinks industry, the British Medical Association, the chief medical officer and groups such as Alcohol Concern.

It called on the government to work with the industry, the police, health workers and other agencies to combat the problems caused by alcohol abuse.

A spokesman for the BRLA said: "Any credible strategy against alcohol misuse should start, as the government has previously acknowledged, from the stance that the moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks is accepted as perfectly compatible with a modern healthy lifestyle and go on to find a better way to assess and reduce the harm resulting from misuse by a minority."

Dr Bill O'Neill, ethics and science advisor for the British Medical Association, said the association would welcome any involvement in an advisory committee.

But he said: "We would want any group to look at more than just the misuse of alcohol. It should also have an educative function.

"What is required is a positive strategy giving advice on both the appropriate and inappropriate use of alcohol."

People spent £29.2bn on alcoholic drinks in 1997 - 5.1% of their disposable income.

A 1994 survey found that 8% of men (17% in those aged 20-24) and 2% of women had an identifiable "alcohol dependency".

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

11 Feb 99†|†Health
Counselling 'prevents alcohol abuse'

10 Dec 98†|†Health
Gauging the real benefits of drinking

02 Nov 98†|†Health
One in 20 Britons 'are alcoholic'

11 Sep 98†|†Health
Alcohol benefits begin at 33

21 Aug 98†|†Health
Would-be mums warned to avoid alcohol

30 Jun 98†|†Health
Parents helped to tackle drink and drugs

Internet Links

Alcohol Concern

Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association

Department of Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99