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Crack down on alcohol - UK government advisers

Wednesday June 2nd, 2010

Professional organisations today welcomed official backing for plans to set minimum prices for alcohol.

New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence today sets out steps to tackle Britain's alcohol epidemic.

NICE wants GPs to quiz patients routinely about their drinking habits - and other professionals also to ask questions when faced with minor injuries and other possible signs of drinking.

Unusually NICE has been asked to give advice to the government.

It says a minimum price should be set for a unit of alcohol. Present coalition government proposals would ban discounting of alcohol.

And it calls for 24-hour licensing laws to be rolled back - with stricter licensing hours applied. There would also be restrictions on private importing of alcohol.

British Medical Association head of science and ethics Dr Vivienne Nathanson said: "The BMA has been saying for some time that tough action is needed to tackle this issue. We are very pleased that NICE is joining our call for a ban on alcohol advertising and the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

"The BMA is convinced that in order to tackle alcohol misuse a whole raft of measures is required, including reducing availability, increasing taxes on drinks with the highest alcohol concentration, reducing the drink-driving limit and tackling advertising and minimum pricing."

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Every day, nurses see the devastating physical and psychological consequences that alcohol misuse can cause. We are pleased that NICE has echoed our call to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol to stop this dire situation from spiralling even further out of control."

Tags: A&E | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Nursing & Midwifery | UK News

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