Alcohol Abuse in the U.K.
We know that the U.S. isn’t the only country with substance abuse problems. I believe the news about what’s happening in other countries is interesting and I thought others might find it so as well. Why should we care what other countries are doing? Because we’re one world. Perhaps we can learn from each other, and countries with more advanced policies and research can help others.
I’ll start with England. In a posting this year on the BBC news site, Alcohol Concern, a national charity in England and Wales, predicted that the number of hospitalizations in the country due to alcohol abuse could reach 1.5 million by 2015.
The organization, which calls itself a national agency on alcohol misuse, suggested that the country have an alcohol specialist on the staff of every hospital and in every general practitioner group.
The post decried the thousands of deaths from liver disease and the increased risk of stroke, heart disease and some cancers among people who drink. It also noted that that Department of Health is planning to come up with a new “alcohol strategy” that will give more power and money to local communities for treatment. Leaders will also tighten licensing laws and forbid supermarkets to sell liquor below cost.
England, like the U.S., is concerned about the national cost of alcohol abuse and is taking strict measures. Part of the impetus is the country ending primary care trusts, or “organizations that work in both health [including mental health] and social care,” according to a government site.
The Alcohol Concern also called for more alcohol specialists throughout the healthcare industry and criticized the government for not earmarking sufficient funds to date for alcohol abuse.
Kudos to this organization for pointing out the need to do more. Without getting into a discussion about the merits of socialized medicine vs. a system like ours, I wonder how these suggestions would go over in our country. Sadly, we’re not the only country that needs more readily available resources to save lives.