Brown’s own advisers slam alcohol strategy

Gordon Brown’s Government has been rebuked by its own advisers who say ministers should do more to tackle binge drinking, particularly amongst the young.

In a report the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said more should be made of the evidence that a “stable family life” can help young people avoid alcohol and other drugs.

It also suggested lowering the drink-drive limit for young people from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg per 100ml.

The ACMD said that the selling of alcoholic drinks should be “simplified and clarified” so people have a better understanding of how much they are drinking.

Hazardous

The report, Pathways to Problems, was released on the same day that a ban on the drug mephedrone was recommended by the ACMD and as a result its coverage was not widespread.

The report welcomed “the evidence that good parenting and stable family life can reduce the risks of hazardous tobacco, alcohol and other drug use by young people”.

And it encouraged the media, as well as Government, to take action in this area.

Inexperience

The ACMD recommended that the drink-drive limit be lowered for inexperienced younger drivers “given the poorer driving skills and higher accident rates” among that group.

It said that a limit of 50mg per 100ml for younger people could be extended to all drivers if the scheme among under-25s was deemed successful.

The report noted that a study in the USA showed more stringent laws on young drivers alcohol intake was “effective” in reducing the numbers of fatal crashes involving drinking drivers.

Ban

The report also called for a “much stricter code” on alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

It said there should be a ban on booze companies sponsoring sports or music events attended by under-18s.

The ACMD report was submitted to the Government in July last year but only published on 29 March.

Responsible

Last month a study claimed thousands of lives would be saved if minimum pricing on alcohol was introduced.

The University of Sheffield study also said moderate drinkers would benefit from minimum alcohol pricing.

It claimed that an alcohol price rise, which would be a result of minimum pricing, would cause responsible drinkers to consume less, cutting rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

And in February figures revealed that powers given to local authorities to crack down on disorder caused by binge drinking have not been used at all since being introduced two years ago.

Trouble

Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs) force pubs and clubs in alcohol-related trouble spots to stump up the cash for extra policing to combat the problem.

But according to information obtained by the Conservatives, not one ADZ has been set up.

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