government must “wake up to reality” that a national alcohol strategy is needed
now, the chief executive of social care charity Turning Point has declared.
at a Turning Point conference in London Victor Adebowale said that the
excessive consumption of alcohol is a “massive” social and public health
problem, the costs of which cut across health, welfare and criminal justice
quite simple. If we spend on treatment the costs will be offset by the savings
in health care,” he said. “Treatment will bring other economic advantages. It’s
likely to result in reduced criminal activity and criminal justice costs,
reduced social care and housing demands, reduced accidents as well as improved
productivity in the workplace.”
He said that the absences of a strategy has
led to a “highly variable” pattern of treatment provision across the UK and
that it is common for somebody in a crisis to wait a month for a detox. Access
to treatment for people with mental health problems combined with alcohol misuse
is particularly problematic he said.
“At one of Turning Point’s services a lady
with these complex needs applied to 33 residential units without even getting
an assessment before coming to us.”
The alcohol strategy needs to look at
education and prevention, particularly around Britain’s culture of binge
drinking, he said.