AHA Bulletin – August 2020

Post-COVID era offers opportunity for change in alcohol treatment

The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to reshape and update addiction treatment networks, according to leading health experts.

In a paper published in BMC Medicine, the authors call for a revised and modernised addiction treatment network which includes improved access to care, facilitated where appropriate by technology; more integrated care with addiction specialists supporting non-specialists; and reducing the stigma experienced by people with substance use disorders.

Read the paper online

Consultations on calorie labelling and MUP announced

The Westminster government has announced that, as part of their Obesity Strategy, they will launch a consultation on requiring calorie labels on alcohol products. This is great news and follows on from a series of letters from AHA members to the Prime Minister calling for more information on alcohol labels.

Furthermore, the devolved government in Stormont has announced that they will be holding a public consolation later this year on minimum unit pricing in Northern Ireland. If implemented, this would bring Northern Ireland in line with Scotland and Wales, leaving England the only part of the Union without minimum pricing.   

Lockdown drinking habits may be here to stay

New research, commissioned by Alcohol Change UK, has found that 66% of people expect to continue drinking as they have been during lockdown or even more.

The representative Opinium survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK suggests that heavier lockdown drinking will not end spontaneously when it eases.

Find out more

Alcohol Health Alliance hosts Labour Round Table

Last month, the AHA hosted a round table with the Labour Shadow Health team. Here the Shadow Health Secretary (Jonathan Ashworth), the Shadow Mental Health Minister (Dr Rosena Allin-Khan), and Shadow Public Health Minister (Alex Norris) joined a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on alcohol harm and the importance of prioritising treatment and prevention services in order to facilitate our national recovery.

Humankind launch Mil-SMART recovery programme for soldiers

Humankind has launched the UK’s first Mil-SMART recovery programme, specifically aimed at helping serving soldiers with alcohol and gambling issues at Catterick Garrison. This scheme, previously funded by Humankind, has just received funding for two years from the British Army to continue this work and could be extended to cover other military bases across the UK.

Find out more

Alcohol Action Ireland launches new podcast

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has released the inaugural episode of a new podcast series The Alcohol File.

The opening episode  – What is alcohol doing for our health? – explores a number of issues relating to what damage alcohol can do to our physical and mental health.

In wide ranging panel discussion with Professor Frank Murray (former President of the RCPI and Chair of Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland), Dr John Ryan (Consultant Hepatologist, Beaumont) and Dr Bobby Smyth (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) the show explores an ‘A to Z’ of alcohol harm to understand the specific issues and the impact on our health services, and the wider society. The Alcohol File will share with the listener a comprehensive, independent analysis, both national and international, of the many complex issues related to alcohol use.

Listen now

ACUK publish two grant funded research reports

Alcohol Change UK has published two grant-funded research reports. The first is about the effects of funding cuts to alcohol treatment commissioning with an accompanying blog. This research explores the pressures on the commissioning system and identifies system developments that have arisen as a response. 

The second looks at the under-researched area of counterfeit alcohol. Findings discussed in the blog include that the supply chain is very opaque and that a lack of funding and resources for enforcement means that the vast majority of counterfeit alcohol is not discovered. An estimated £1.2 billion is lost every year in avoided taxes on illicit alcohol.

Trustee recruitment: National Organisation for FASD

The National Organisation for FASD (formerly NOFAS-UK) provides support to people affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and their families and communities; campaigns to raise public awareness; and promotes relevant policies and practices. Having engaged new funding streams, it is now launching dynamic new programmes and poised to increase its impact greatly. It is seeking up to three new Trustees to join a dynamic and engaged Board, sharing their experience to shape the charity’s strategy.

Deadline: 24 August 2020

Find out more

Drinkcoach publish post-lockdown health and wellbeing advice

DrinkCoach and Mental Health Service Manager James Dominiak shares his advice for how to keep yourself well during COVID-19 and beyond in 5 easy steps. Find out the importance of resilience and how it can help enforce a healthy mind set on the Drinkcoach blog.


Men and Alcohol: Final report launch

9 September 2020, online

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) will be launching the final report of their Men & Alcohol seminar series online. The session will involve cameos from previous speakers, a summary of findings, and recommendations for policy and practice. Participants will be able to participate in an open Q&A session and discussion. 

Register now

Commission on Alcohol Harm: report launch

Alcohol Health Alliance
16 September 2020, online

The Alcohol Health Alliance is pleased to be hosting the online launch of the Commission on Alcohol Harm report. Having obtained written and oral evidence on alcohol harm from people from all walks of life and professions, the report will make key recommendations to the government about how to tackle alcohol harm.

Register now