Health Warnings on alcohol
Health Warnings on Alcohol
I have just read this piece in the Guardian newspaper which talks about the idea of putting health warnings on alcohol. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/11/alcohol-abuse-health-warnings-labels There is a lot of concern about the level of binge drinking in the UK, which is much worse than places such as USA. Problems caused by drinking are putting a huge strain on our national health service. In my lifetime, alcohol has become much more widely used, and it is considered to be an acceptable way to unwind, by many.
People do not look down on drinkers in the way they did when AA was formed in the 1930’s and do not look at it as such a moral failing, which is one of the reasons that we need to offer more rational solutions for those, who do develop drinking problems. I am not sure that putting warning labels on bottles will have much effect on consumption, especially amongst the young. Cigarettes, carried health warnings for years and this seemed to have little effect when I was younger. It was stopping people from smoking in public and banning advertising which aimed to make smoking look sophisticated, that really pushed people to change their lifestyles.
I think the health warning idea is something that the government will use, to say it is tackling the problem, without actually doing much. The drinking lobby is huge here and alcohol is aggressively advertised and is often associated with sports sponsorship, which send a bad message to the young. the recent excellent documentary by channel 4 explores the effects of cheap drink really well as well as the links to advertising http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/videos/all/the-cost-of-cheap-alcohol
I do not think we are going to be able to turn the clock back and stop people drinking in a dangerous manner, until we educate them and help them live better lives. Many people are surrounded by stress and take what they consider to be the easy way of controlling this by drinking. This seems to be a growing problem amongst women who are now developing problems. A lot of the reasons for this were explored in Gabrielle Glaser’s great book, that I have talked about here. http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/best-kept-secret/ . I think that more action needs to be taken. the increase in licensing hours has been a total disaster in the UK and should be removed, as well as the ability to buy alcohol 24 hours a day. People who cause problems for others when drunk need to be educated and that includes people who end up in A&E, through drink and drugs. The present approach is not working and the recent proposal will not work.
It would certainly be an unpopular change for many, if alcohol consumption was restricted and these people are often quite visible when there is any criticism of the way alcohol is sold. I do not think they represent the majority in the country, who are fed up with the problems caused by drunks and alcoholics. Many others share the view that society needs to change before the nation drinks in an acceptable fashion. Here is a good answer for under the Guardian article.
“Does anyone not know that drinking to excess is bad for your health?
Perhaps what the government should be looking at is why people in Britain are drinking so much more these days than 30 years ago.
Alcohol is no more available today than it was then, nor is it cheaper today than it was then.
So why do people drink to excess more than they used to? Could it be that we’re all under more stress? Could that also be behind the obesity epidemic?
Is it the long and/or irregular working hours, the stagnating wages and rising cost of living, the lack of job security, the stressful commutes, lack of sleep, poor diet (eating what we can when we can), a mass media constantly trying to scare us and that very few of us are able to make even medium-term plans because we just don’t know what’s around the corner?
We’re even stressing out our kids, making them afraid of the outside world, making toddlers sit exams that could determine their entire future, saddling them with huge debts before they’ve even started their careers.
Would that make you go out on a Friday evening and get hammered? I suspect so.
In fact, I suspect the rising stress is even worse for us than the booze. We’re rats caught in a trap.”
Most people do not want to accept that our society is deeply flawed and that we are turning into a nation of over stressed addicts, with a lack of appreciation for culture or our surroundings. Many live a sad life that they simply wish to blot out.