AHA Bulletin – June 2020

More than one third of people in recovery report a relapse in addictive behaviour during lockdown

39% of people who were in recovery from an addiction prior to lockdown have experienced a relapse or a re-occurrence of their addictive behaviour, according to a new survey from Action on Addiction.

The survey also found that a quarter of UK adults are drinking more than they were before lockdown; of these, 15% said they were experiencing physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as well as problems relating to relationships, work, money or sleep.

One in four of those reporting addictive behaviour in lockdown also identified that they would need support or treatment to resolve the problems they are experiencing with this behaviour.

Graham Beech, Chief Executive at Action on Addiction, said: “The survey provides an important insight into the looming pressure on services during and following lockdown.”

Find out more

Off-trade alcohol sales fall after MUP introduced in Scotland

Public Health Scotland have published data showing a decline in population alcohol consumption following the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing. Carried out in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, this study shows a net reduction, when compared with England and Wales, in per adult sales of alcohol from supermarkets and off-licences of between 4 and 5 per cent in the 12 months following the implementation of MUP.

This work builds on an earlier report that described a fall in per adult off-trade sales in the year following MUP implementation. This new analysis strengthens these findings, by estimating the impact of MUP on off-trade alcohol sales, while controlling for underlying trends, seasonal fluctuations in consumption and other potentially important factors.   

New podcast to support families in lockdown

Alcohol Shorts is a new podcast series from Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD).

These short podcasts explore the issues of alcohol use and offer some support to family members and individuals who are experiencing additional pressures because of stay-at-home advice.

John Holleran, the Families and Communities Manager of SFAD, is joined on the show by a range of guest speakers from different organisations including; British Liver Trust, Corra Foundation and the Scottish Recovery Consortium.

Listen to the podcast

Organisations call for trauma informed front-line services in Ireland

Alcohol Action Ireland and Mental Health Ireland have called for investment in trauma informed services. In a detailed position paper they note that the social fall out post-COVID in schools, workplaces, mental health and social structures will undoubtedly be significant while there is already clear evidence of the impact of adverse childhood experiences, such as growing up with parental alcohol misuse.

WHO launch alcohol labelling policy report

The WHO European Region has the highest levels of alcohol consumption per capita in the world, yet alcohol labelling, a WHO-recommended practice that provides consumer information on the ingredients, nutritional values and harms of alcohol, is not mandatory.

A new report from WHO/Europe’s Health Evidence Network (HEN) found that among the countries of the WHO European Region:

  • 40% have legislation on ingredient listing
  • 19% have legislation on inclusion of energy content
  • 28% have legislation on health information labelling or warnings for alcoholic beverages.

Read the report in full

Balance NE launch Stay Healthy, Stay Safe Campaign

Balance NE has launched the Stay Healthy, Stay Safe PR campaign aimed at reminding the public of the role alcohol can play in undermining our physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign included a website landing page and a toolkit for North East partners.

As part of this campaign and to highlight Mental Health Awareness Week in May, Balance NE invited Prof Eilish Gilvarry, consultant psychiatrist in Addictions at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust, to write a blog about how regular drinking can affect our mental health.

Alcohol Focus Scotland review of statements of licensing policy 2018 – 2023

All Licensing Boards in Scotland are required to publish a statement of licensing policy at least once every five years, setting out how they will promote the licensing objectives and their approach to licensing decisions. AFS has reviewed the most recent policy statements to identify any emerging trends in licensing approaches, and the extent to which the documents meet legal requirements and go beyond them to incorporate good practice. This exercise enabled AFS to identify examples of good practice, learning and innovation that may be particularly useful to boards and other stakeholders involved in the review and development of licensing policy. If you would like to attend a presentation and Q&A session about the review please email [email protected] to register you interest.