Alcohol strategy lacks health focus

About half of London boroughs have been unable to implement local
alcohol strategies due to lack of resources, according to a

The London Drug and Alcohol Network found that a lack of earmarked
funding was hindering progress one year after the publication of
the government’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy.

The network, which represents 200 front-line agencies in the
capital, also found that early initiatives were likely to focus on
antisocial behaviour rather than treatment, reflecting councils’

One commissioning manager from Greenwich drug and alcohol action
team said: “The council is inclined to see alcohol in terms of
antisocial behaviour but we want to focus on health as well.”

While the main sources of funding for local strategies came from
crime and disorder reduction partnerships and primary care trusts
(PCTs), the network said improved links with funding agencies,
particularly PCTs, were needed.

Richard Phillips, director of policy and services at charity
Alcohol Concern, called for greater resources for treatment, but
acknowledged these would not be provided without evidence of their

The National Treatment Agency is currently consulting agencies on
models of care for alcohol misusers and the Department of Health is
undertaking an audit of treatment need – both of which Phillips
predicted could ensure more resources in the future.

He said: “While the treatment side of the strategy remains a poor
cousin to antisocial behaviour, we need to produce evidence to show
what works.

“It hasn’t happened yet, but the momentum is going the right way.”

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