With the election over, now is an excellent time to contact your MP to talk to them about any concerns you have relating to alcohol related harm in your community and to ask them to take forward these issues on your behalf. New MPs will be looking for issues to champion, so why not ask them to make one reducing alcohol harm?
We want politicians to realise how very real the problem is, and to commit to supporting measures to reduce levels of alcohol related harm. The more people who contact their MP, the louder our voice will be. Politicians have shied away from facing the problem of alcohol misuse in the UK time and time again. If they can see that alcohol related harms are affecting their constituents and communities, they are much more likely to support the tools and policies that are so desperately needed to tackle alcohol misuse.
You might want to write to your MP about a specific issue like lowering the drink drive limit, tackling children’s exposure to alcohol advertising or asking them to push for more nutritional and health information on alcohol labels, or you might want to write to them more generally.
We’ve included some pointers below:
- Make sure your MP knows why this is an important issue to you. It might be that you’ve experienced or seen the effects of alcohol addiction, or you’re just worried about it’s impact on your local hospital, crime rates or community. Does it affect your professional life – perhaps you’re a police officer or a paramedic who has to mop up the after effects of a night out? Or perhaps you just worry about the impact alcohol could have on your neighbours and residents in your community? Alcohol Concern have produced a map which shows the impact of alcohol in your local area (if you live in England!) on areas like hospital admissions, the local economy and the number of deaths related to alcohol. You can access it here.
- You could also talk about the national picture. Nationally one person is killed every single hour by alcohol and 1.2 million people are admitted to hospital due to alcohol related causes every year. Countless others see their health damaged by it, and in fact, liver disease is the only major disease against which we are not making progress – over the past ten years; rates in people under 30 suffering from this condition have increased by 112%. It’s currently cheaper for our children and young people to get drunk than go to the cinema, and even with the new ban on ‘below cost’ sales of alcohol, a can of super strength white cider such as Frosty Jack’s can still be sold for about 16p. The Government has estimated that alcohol costs our country more than £21bn each year due to its impact on health, crime and society.
- Don’t forget to ask them for a personal commitment to taking effective and evidence based action to tackle alcohol harm, and ask them to write back and let you know their views on the issues you’ve raised.
- You may also want to ask your MP to visit a local hospital, treatment centre or police station to see the effects of alcohol misuse first hand.
- And if you’re writing them a direct email or letter, make sure you include your address so that they know you’re a constituent!