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Breakfast Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 06:41 GMT 07:41 UK
When a swift half becomes a problem
Six times as many people are dependent on alcohol than drugs
There's nothing wrong with enjoying a good drink, but did you know that there are six times as many people who are dependent on alcohol as drugs?

It's a surprising fact that more of us are addicted to drink than drugs, but that is the finding of the social care charity Turning Point.

  • Breakfast heard the moving story of one young mother's battle with alcohol. We also talked to the head of Turning Point, Victor Adebowale.

    Turning Point wants the Health Secretary Alan Milburn to put more money into treating alcoholics in Britain.

    The social care group says that alcohol plays a part in about 40,000 deaths per year, with current services patchy and fragmented.

    According to a report published today, sufferers are denied the chance to overcome their addiction.

    Currently 95 million is allocated to treating alcohol related illness but 570 million is set aside for the treatment of drug addiction.

    The charity argued that treatment for drink problems was "proven to be effective in turning lives around" but said some addicts had been forced to wait 18 months for the medical care they needed.

    Lord Adebowale, chief executive of Turning Point, said the report, Waiting for Change, showed "a desperate need for the government to call time on alcohol dependency".

    He called on ministers to "systematically invest" in alcohol treatment services.

    "With almost four million people in England and Wales dependent on alcohol - over six times the number of people who are problem users of Class A drugs - society cannot afford to continue to neglect alcohol treatment.

    "At present, the government does not even know how many people nationally are in alcohol treatment," he said.

    "There is an urgent need for the government to give as high a priority to tackling alcohol dependency as it does to addressing drug misuse."

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    My battle with alcohol
    Breakfast talked to one young mother called Sue
    Dealing with Drink problems
    Victor Adebowale of the charity Turning Point
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    15 Apr 01 | Health
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