Agency remit may include alcohol

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse may need to
reallocate resources towards alcohol issues if its remit is
expanded following a government review into binge drinking.

A study into creating a national strategy for tackling problems
associated with alcohol misuse was launched last week by the
Cabinet Office’s strategy unit. It will focus on crime and
antisocial behaviour related to alcohol consumption among
teenagers. The study is a step towards a national alcohol strategy
due to be launched in 2004.

The government has already said that the NTA’s drugs treatment
remit could be expanded to include alcohol.

Alcohol Concern welcomed the project’s “co-ordinated approach to
tackling alcohol problems”.

But Richard Phillips, the charity’s assistant director of
services and policy, said that there may need to be a “rejigging”
of resources at the NTA to ensure that alcohol was given equal

“Alcohol must be an unequivocal part of its remit and there can
not be a huge mismatch of resources or alcohol will be sidelined,”
he added.

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