AHA Bulletin – July 2020

Growing numbers of alcohol-related hospital admissions linked to local spending cuts

A new study by King’s College London has shown a link between increases in alcohol related hospital admissions and decreases in spending on alcohol services since they came under the responsibility of local authorities via the Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) in 2012.

The study analysed data from 2012 to 2019 on the expenditure on alcohol services, the provision of specialist alcohol treatment and the level of alcohol-related hospitalisation from 152 local authorities in England. The study showed that, since the HSCA was passed, on average local authorities have decreased annual net spending on treatment for alcohol treatment by £147 per 1000 people and the net spending for prevention and reducing alcohol misuse by £88 per 1000 people.

Dr Emmert Roberts from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London and lead author of the report said: “The drug and alcohol budget may be seen as easier to cut than other local authority budgets especially as they are now not protected by ringfencing. An average reduction in spend of 18p per person appears to have large consequences on the number of people needing hospital treatment for problems relating to alcohol.”

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New briefing on emerging evidence of alcohol consumption in lockdown

As licensed premises reopen their doors after months of lockdown, a briefing from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, examines an emerging evidence base on changes in UK alcohol consumption during the lockdown by bringing together findings from different sources.

Read the briefing online

Campaign launched to support members of the LGBTQ+ community at risk of alcohol harm

On 29 June the new #KinderStrongerBetter campaign was launched in partnership with the Glasgow Council on Alcohol and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs.

The campaign aims to highlight how organisations in Scotland are working together to create communities and services that are visibly supportive of LGBTQ+ people who are affected by their own, or someone else’s, alcohol or drug use.

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New online support for liver patients during COVID-19 pandemic

The British Liver Trust is running a programme of support groups, giving patients and their carers an opportunity to speak to others and share experiences.

Groups are normally run face-to-face, but the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the delivery transferred online to ensure these groups continue to run. Delivering the groups online has enabled a rapid expansion of both the number of groups run and their regional coverage. Participants often call these groups ‘a lifeline’.

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Rise in public awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer

Ten years of YouGov surveys run by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) reveal that awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer is increasing.

According to their public opinion polling, public awareness that alcohol increases the risk of cancer has increased by 10% in a decade – rising from 53% in 2010 to 63% in 2020.

Dr Giota Mitrou, Director of Research Funding and Science External Relations at WCRF, said: “These increases in awareness are extremely encouraging and show that people are changing their attitudes towards risk factors and cancer.”

Call for papers for Advances in Dual Diagnosis

A new annual issue for the journal Advances in Dual Diagnosis will explore the theme of substance use and mental health in older people.

In addition to research submissions, the journal will also be accepting those based on expert opinion (commentaries, personal views from experts by experience) and best practice (models of care, quality improvement).

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