Selected media stories since the December roundup:
The NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said binge-drinkers are "selfish to get so blotto" they end up in an ambulance or A&E. “More than a third of A&E attendances at peak times are caused by drunkenness - casualty nurses and doctors are understandably frustrated about the NHS being used as a national hangover service,” he added. Telegraph
Meanwhile England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies has admitted her advice on recommended alcohol guidelines could have been better, saying she chose her words poorly when she told women to think about the risk of breast cancer every time they reached for a glass of wine. Times
Liver transplants have been highlighted by an Eastenders storyline featuring Phil Mitchell (pictured as played by Steve McFadden) suffering with alcohol-related liver disease, reported the Express. The storyline has been praised by Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, who said it had been portrayed responsibly. The Express followed up with the article Liver disease warning: How much damage are YOU doing to your vital organ?
A Freedom of Information request to the DVLA by the Press Association showed 219,008 people were caught drink-driving once in the same period, said the BBC. More than 8,000 motorists have been caught driving over the limit twice in the past five years
Leading barrister Cathy McCulloch has warned male students not to risk having sex with girls who have been drinking heavily for fear they could end up being accused of rape. "Young men know you cannot put roofies [date rape drugs] in a girl's drink, you can't spike a girl's drink, but we now need to take things a step further," she said. "Even if they have not given the woman the alcohol, if they have watched them take their own alcohol, if that woman appears to be drunk they must not go there". Telegraph
There were plenty of stories about Dry January this month, with the Telegraph's How to get through the month without drinking, and how it could help your health and the Evening Standard's The major reason why you shouldn't jump on the Dry January bandwagon being typical examples.
The Express reported on research that found alcohol abuse was associated with a doubled risk of irregular heartbeat, a 1.4-fold increased risk of heart attack and a 2.3-fold increased risk of heart failure.
A poll reported in the Independent found that partners sabotage each other's attempts to cut down on drinking, by suggesting one more drink or encouraging them on nights out, with men worse than women.
Women in the UK and Ireland are among the world's worst for drinking during pregnancy, a new study published in Lancet Global Health has claimed. The UK also had an estimated rate of 61.3 cases of foetal alcohol syndrome per 10,000 women, the report claimed. BT.com
Researchers at University College London are trialling the use of ketamine, a powerful anaesthetic used in the NHS and on animals, to block or dismantle the “alcohol reward” memories that cause cravings and addictions. It is hoped the drug, known as 'Special K' on the party scene, will help drinkers “reboot” their brain and get their habit under control. Evening Standard
A new study published in Nature Communication by the Francis Crick Institute investigated whether a link between alcohol intake and overeating could be determined. The researchers found that ethanol triggers hunger signals in the brain and sustains "false ‘starvation alarms’" meaning alcohol makes your brain think it is hungry. Independent
Public health experts have called for a ban on alcohol advertising in the UK in light of new research that claims the industry’s marketing practices encourage young people to drink. The Guardian reported on studies into the impact of alcohol advertising around the world, which found that marketing practices often seemed to breach the industry’s own voluntary codes of practice.
The Guardian covered mooted plain packaging for alcoholic drinks. "It will crush the craft side of the industry. It will shift the business back to the industrial producers, who will be very happy to move people back to mass-produced drinks" said craft gin distiller Jared Brown. However PHE were not calling for plain packaging, rather examined the available evidence in their recent review.
Recruitment is ongoing for the new chief executive of The Portman Group, following the departure of Henry Ashworth, who left in January to become CEO and president of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking. Morning Advertiser
Alcohol is 'good for the body and mind' with possible health benefits and buffering effects from socialising, reports the Morning Advertiser.
A new alcohol free bar DRY opens in Stockbridge, reports the Scotsman. Former whisky company owner Jamie Walker developed an alcohol problem but now wants to show that 'it is possible to go out and have a grown-up fun evening in an alcohol-free environment. DRY was in response to a trend for non-alcoholic beverages among increasingly health-conscious millennials claim its owners.