University of Sheffield produces report on harm caused by alcohol

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The majority of people in Britain are harmed by others’ drinking, according to a new report produced in conjunction with the University of Sheffield.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies said its research, produced with the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, found that one in five adults has been harassed or insulted in the street by someone who had been drinking, while more had felt unsafe or threatened in a public place.

Many also reported receiving unwanted sexual attention or experiencing family or marriage problems because of alcohol abuse.

The report found a link between age and rates of harm, with younger age groups reporting greater rates of harm than older ones.

It is based on the experiences of more than 2,000 people from Scotland and north-west England.

The report calls for a range of measures including stricter rules on how many licensed premises can be allowed in one area and increasing the price of the cheapest alcohol.

IAS director Katherine Brown said: “This report is important because it shows that the harms caused by alcohol extend far beyond individual drinkers, often affecting many people through no choice of their own.

“Alcohol harm is everybody’s business - as taxpayers we are all paying the price. We hope this Government will look to the evidence of what works and take action, both to ease the heavy financial burden on our health, social care and police services, and to make our communities safer.”

Lead author, Dr Lucy Gell, from the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield, said: “We need to better record alcohol’s harm to others across the health and social services and provide support services for those experiencing harm from other people’s drinking.

“Our team are now working to provide evidence to national and local governments about which mix of policies could best help to reduce the social harms associated with alcohol use.”