Recent bulletins from the drug and alcohol bank:
Alcohol-related harm is said to cost the UK £21 billion, but the assumptions behind this calculation and decisions about what to include mean the figure can vary wildly. Even a seemingly simple statistic like alcohol-related hospital admissions has been redefined, cutting the total in England by over a third. In the mix for reducing this burden are universal prevention, price rises, screening and brief advice, and treating the worst cases.
With this first UK survey providing data on price paid for alcohol plus consumption and income, the evidence is converging on the conclusion that poor heavy drinkers would be most affected by a minimum per unit price, gaining most in health, but losing most either in having to spend more or cut back on their drinking
Heavy drinking by mothers-to-be threatens their unborn child – but for that very reason, women may shy away from admitting to it. This review found several brief screening questionnaires showed promise in identifying mothers who might need to cut back, while others seemed unsuitable for the antenatal care context.
Findings from this multi-university study (said to be “as near to a real-world evaluation in a population of university students as is likely to be achieved”) in New Zealand seem an example of trials of brief alcohol interventions as they would be implemented in routine practice failing to match more promising findings from trials in less ‘real world’ circumstances.