AHA Bulletin – November 2020

English drinkers can consume a week’s worth of alcohol for the same price as a high street cup of coffee, AHA report warns

It is possible to drink the low-risk weekly guideline of 14 units for just £2.68 – about the price of a cup of coffee in many high street chains – according to a new report from the AHA.

As part of the research, the Alcohol Health Alliance UK visited shops and supermarkets across England, Scotland and Wales to compare how cheaply alcohol is being sold in each nation.

The cheapest products were all found in England, where minimum unit pricing does not exist, and where cheap alcohol can be purchased for less than half the price of alcohol in Scotland and Wales.

The AHA is calling on the government to commit to tackling cheap, high-strength alcohol in its review of the alcohol duty system and through introducing minimum unit pricing in England.

Read the report in full

New campaign launched to tackle alcohol consumption during COVID19

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is launching a major new campaign, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, to address rising alcohol consumption during COVID19.

Alcohol – Not the Answer is targeted at people drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s low risk guidelines, and who research shows are likely to be drinking even more during the pandemic. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimated in September that over 8.4 million people were drinking at higher risk, up from just 4.8 million in February.

The campaign will underline the broad range of physical and mental health problems alcohol can cause and in particular a key message from the World Health Organization that alcohol can weaken the immune system and reduce the ability to cope with infectious diseases such as COVID19. It will highlight practical advice to cut down, encourage people to try an alcohol units quiz and to download the PHE Drink Free Days app.

Balance is encouraging national partners to support the campaign through Twitter using the hashtag #NottheAnswer.

Find out more

Time to call ‘last orders’ at Westminster

On 17 October, the sale of alcohol was banned in the House of Commons, following an announcement by the Speaker a few days before. Through this measure, the ban would cover all catering outlets, whether or not food was served. He added that this ban would last for the ‘foreseeable future’.

But should Parliament go a step a further? Would a permanent ban on the sale of alcohol be a timely last order? Dr Tony Rao, author and Visiting Research Fellow, explores these questions in a new blog for the Alcohol Health Alliance.

Read the blog

Dry January messaging and resources now available

Dry January is a behaviour change campaign endorsed by Public Health England and run by Alcohol Change UK, supporting millions of people to drink more healthily throughout the year.

This year, the need for Dry January is more acute than ever. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that more than 8.4 million people in England were drinking at higher-risk levels in June, up from 4.8 million in February 2020. This means that even more people stand to benefit from Dry January.

Research shows that people who take on Dry January with Alcohol Change UK’s support, whether via daily emails or the free Try Dry app, are twice as likely to go the whole month without drinking.

Alcohol Change UK offers free digital resources and messaging to help you promote the campaign.

Download your materials here.

A national framework is required to support children coping with parental problem alcohol, says Alcohol Action Ireland

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm in Ireland, has published a paper that considers the issue of parental problem alcohol use and how children, who are exposed to this adverse childhood experience (ACE), cope during their school years. This paper is a collaboration between Alcohol Action Ireland and University College Cork’s School of Applied Psychology. Among the recommendations are that the provision of training in relation to trauma-informed approaches and adverse children experiences (ACEs) should be implemented at teacher training level, and at all levels of professional development – from teachers to principals to education welfare officers to special needs assistants and administrative staff.

Find out more

Alcohol is widespread and pervasive in children’s lives in Ireland

Over the past number of months, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) has contributed to a range of consultations media articles, research initiatives and other advocacy efforts in relation to children and the harm that alcohol causes in their lives. As we carry out this work, it becomes increasingly apparent just how widespread and pervasive alcohol is in children’s lives, how it seeps into their world, bringing a tsunami of harm that’s often ignored or brushed away as somehow unavoidable. A  recent blog post from AAI.


AHA member research receives ONS commendation

Research published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, examining experiences of alcohol-related violence, has been commended for collaboration and impact through the ONS Research Excellence Awards.

Commenting on the research, Andrew Brown of Public Health England (PHE) shared:

“The positive reception to this work, not only within Public Heath England but amongst wider stakeholders and policymakers, is indicative of the significance of its findings and the direct implication these have for alcohol policy development.”

Find out more

The research, by authors Lucy Bryant and Dr Carly Lightowlers, found that lower incomes groups are more likely to experience alcohol-related violence.

Watch the video below to find out more:


Working with the whole personalcohol, mental health and complex needs 

Alcohol Change UK’s first online interactive conference
Wednesday 2 December and Thursday 3 December 2020

The harmful use of alcohol is often just one symptom of the complex challenges in someone’s life. Alcohol Change UK have gathered together a multidisciplinary slate of academics, practitioners, and people with lived experience, to help us all work better to support the whole person. Find out more and book places below.

More information and registration

Courses, grants and opportunities

Submissions open for the Special Issue: “Alcohol-Related Violence: The Impact of Drinking Pattern, Drinker Personality and Drinking Context”

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is seeking submissions for a special issue focusing on the relationship between alcohol, aggression and violence, including the impact of drinking patterns, drinker personalities, and drinking contexts.

Editors welcome submissions covering interventions that address alcohol-related aggression, including interventions in vulnerable populations, such as dependent drinkers and their families. Submissions can focus on activities that impede or facilitate the formulation and implementation of promising alcohol policies, including collaborations with policymakers, improving advocacy strategies, and exposing and countering conflicts of interest and/or the actions of industry actors. While the focus will be on empirical and review articles, articles with an editorial style or that propose methodological innovations will also be considered.

Find out more