New toolkit for reporting on alcohol and other drugs
Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs and Adfam have launched the Reporting of Substance Media Toolkit, an online resource to support journalists and editors reporting on alcohol and other drugs.
The toolkit was created with the support of a working group including a person in recovery, a family member, a journalist, Drink and Drug News and the Alcohol Health Alliance UK.
It sets out five key recommendations such as appropriate imagery, avoiding stigmatising language and being respectful to people they interview. There is also a recommendation to include support information in every article that reports on alcohol and other drugs.
The resource will help to ensure reporting on the topic is done with dignity and respect, helping to tackle the persisting stigmatisation of alcohol and other drug use.
APPG on Complex Needs and Dual Diagnosis calls for new alcohol strategy
In a new report, the APPG for Complex Needs calls on the government to take urgent action and address the alarming rise in alcohol-related deaths. This follows the APPG’s March meeting, which heard from experts in alcohol harm including AHA chair Sir Ian Gilmore, Sarah Quilty (English Substance Use Commissioners’ Group), Dr Alison Giles (Institute of Alcohol Studies) and Jon Roberts (Dear Albert).
The speakers underlined the damage caused by a decade of government inaction and recommended investment in local and hospital treatment services, as well as population measures designed to reduce alcohol consumption, such as minimum unit pricing.
Jane Stevenson MP, joint chair of the APPG, noted that people in the most deprived areas of the country are disproportionately affected by alcohol-related harm, and called for the levelling up agenda to address such health inequalities and improve access to treatment for all.
The Time is Now to tackle FASD
The National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (National FASD) have published a report on FASD prevention, diagnosis and support services.
The Time is Now summarises nine remote meetings convened by the National FASD Experts Committee over recent months. The 61 participants included paediatricians, psychiatrists, GPs, commissioners, public health experts, researchers, and leaders from the Third Sector.
This report builds on an unprecedented alignment of UK public health bodies focused on the serious risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the need for recognition, diagnosis, and support for those with FASD.
Become an i-Mark champion
The i-Mark movement was launched in March 2022, by Professor Tom Babor. It provides a framework for raising awareness about the inherent conflict of interest in collaborating with the alcohol industry, outlines steps organisations can take to reduce the influence of the alcohol industry, and focuses on building alliances to counter this.
Over 26 organisations in Ireland have formally signed up to the i-Mark, and the team are now open to applications from organisations across the UK.
i-Mark adopters make several commitments including to never accept funding from, or enter partnerships with, the alcohol industry, to reject alcohol industry funded materials or programmes, and to investigate how many materials and/or programmes are funded.
Those interested in signing up or undergoing i-Mark training can contact Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report on alcohol services and LGBTQ+ people discussed in Scottish Parliament
On 9 June 2022, SHAAP hosted a Scottish Parliament event, sponsored by Paul O’Kane MSP, showcasing the recent report ‘What are LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of alcohol services in Scotland? A qualitative study of service users and service providers’. The study, led by Professor Carol Emslie of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Substance Use Research Group, revealed that people who identify as LGBTQ+ in Scotland are more likely to have problems with alcohol and experience major barriers in accessing alcohol services.
The event featured calls to action from SHAAP, and was attended by representatives from Scottish Government, the NHS, various Royal Colleges, many other third sector organisations, nine MSPs, and the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd MSP.
Subsequently, SHAAP sent a letter to the Minister, signed by the MSPs who attended the event, asking for the LGBTQ+ community to be considered as a group with specific needs in the forthcoming Alcohol Treatment Guidelines.
AHA Seminar Sessions: Alcohol harm and ethnicity
Alcohol Health Alliance UK
29 June, 2pm
APPG on Liver Disease and Liver Cancer
British Liver Trust
12 July, 10am
For more info, contact Paul.McGlinchey@Britishlivertrust.org.uk
The Covid Hangover report launch
26 July, 10am
Tackling Stigma in Action: Visibility, Education and Language
8 November, 9.30am
Meet the Members
Every month, we speak to a member of the AHA to find out more about what they do and how their organisation is working to end alcohol harm.
Today we meet Rebecca West, Nurse Manager at the British Liver Trust since 2016.
How does your organisation help to reduce alcohol harm?
We help to reduce alcohol harm via The British Liver Trust’s ‘Love Your Liver’ campaign which aims to raise public awareness of liver health risk factors in order to prevent liver disease and improve early detection. As a nurse team we support callers to our nurse led helpline who are concerned about their levels of alcohol use and signpost them to help and treatment.
What inspires you most in your job?
We have grown our nurse team from one to six specialist hepatology nurses and they each bring a huge amount of medical experience and expertise to their role on the nurse-led helpline. They inspire me every day to be a better nurse with their kindness and compassion. I am very proud to work with them.
What change do you think would make the biggest difference in reducing alcohol harm?
In order to really reduce alcohol harm there needs to be better early alcohol education in schools and universities. I am passionate about addressing stigma in alcohol-related liver disease and supporting people to access help and treatment without fear or discrimination.