The cost-of-living crisis and increased alcohol consumption
Research commissioned by the Forward Trust has revealed that 2.1 million people increased their alcohol use over the last 8 months, 61% of which referred to stress over rising prices as the most significant trigger.
Nearly a third of respondents had either relapsed into addiction or knew someone close to them who has done so, and a quarter of those who upped their alcohol consumption also reported problems including lack of sleep and stress.
Mike Trace, Forward Trust chief executive, said:
‘Addiction is a serious mental health condition that can trap individuals, break up families, increase health, social and crime problems and reduce economic activity. Addiction is deeply connected to other mental health conditions and so it is no surprise to see that while people grapple with the anxiety and stress of a cost-of-living crisis they are reporting relapse or turning to drinking, drugs or gambling.’
#SupportNotStigma this Addiction Awareness Week
The first week of November marked Addiction Awareness Week 2022, highlighting the complex causes and nature of addiction, and calling for #SupportNotStigma.
The Princess of Wales gave her personal support to people struggling with addictions, telling them that shame should not stop them from getting help. Her message underlined that ‘addiction is a serious mental health condition that can happen to anyone, no matter what age, gender, race or nationality.’
You can read more about the campaign here.
End the silence: Growing up with alcohol harm in the home
In October, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) ran a series of events and activities to raise awareness around the issues arising from growing up with alcohol harm in the home.
At least 200,000 children in Ireland are currently living with the trauma of parental problem alcohol use, and a further 400,000 adults are living with its legacy.
AAI launched an interactive toolkit for children, adults, and professionals, and hosted a webinar looking at practical solutions for those impacted by parental problem alcohol use, which you can catch up with here.
More details about the campaign can be found on the AAI website.
The history of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
In a recent SHAAP blog, Dr Christopher Steer takes a look at the history of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). He highlights the importance of raising awareness and providing support and training in the future.
The term ‘fetal alcohol syndrome’ was first introduced into medical literature in the 70s. In early years, much of the research was based on the presence of characteristic facial features. Since then, the field has produced an impressive evidence-base on the link between prenatal alcohol exposure and a continuum of observed effects that has resulted in the clinical description ‘fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.’
Christopher outlines the complexities involved in diagnosing FASD, and why a team approach to assessment is necessary. He also highlights the importance of prevention, through better alcohol labelling and public health awareness raising initiatives. Read the full article here.
Inequalities in children’s exposure to alcohol outlets
Recent research from the SPECTRUM Consortium has found that children living in the most deprived areas in Scotland are almost five times more likely to be exposed to off-sales alcohol outlets than those in the least deprived.
For children in deprived areas, a third of this exposure occurred within just 500m of their homes, decreasing to 7% for children from less deprived areas.
Children’s exposure to alcohol outlets might help us understand alcohol use in later life, which is a key driver of rising health inequalities. Policies that reduce inequities in alcohol availability should therefore be prioritised to ensure that all children have the opportunity to lead healthy lives.
Nacoa’s Superstar Sunday charity match
20 November, 3pm
Public health team efforts to reduce alcohol harms at local authority level: New insights from ExILEnS and CICA research on licensing and community-led approaches
ExILEnS and CICA, University of Stirling
Examining the nature of sponsorship relations for professional football teams across countries with varied restrictions on alcohol marketing
SHAAP/University of Stirling
29 November, 11am–12pm
AHA seminar sessions: Why and how to avoid collaborating with Big Alcohol
Alcohol Health Alliance
1 December, 2–3pm
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 John Mooney, chair of the Faculty of Public Health’s specialist interest group on alcohol.
How does your organisation help to reduce alcohol harm?
We work with public health teams to advise on implementing alcohol harm reduction measures, eg through local availability restrictions and licensing policy. We also engage in policy advocacy at regional and national levels.
What inspires you most in your job?
Working with colleagues to find innovative solutions to reduce alcohol harms in a very complex and challenging political landscape.
What change do you think would make the biggest difference in reducing alcohol harm?
A UK-wide implementation of minimum unit pricing linked to inflation, with more capacity to restrict off-trade alcohol sales. Although off-trade alcohol now accounts by far for the majority of consumption, licensing controls are still focused around the on-trade and the crime and disorder agenda, when health damage should be much more prominent.