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Thousands at risk of alcohol death

21st February 2011

Doctors have warned that insufficient alcohol regulations could result in a quarter of a million deaths in England and Wales by 2031.

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In an article published in The Lancet liver disease specialists said stricter rules were required, such as a minimum price of 50p per unit.

They also warned that the government and drinks manufacturers were "too close".

The specialists made predictions about liver disease which had four possible outcomes. The most positive of these showed Britain reducing the number of deaths from liver disease by one third.

This example was based on how the French government dealt with the problem of high liver disease rates in the 1960s, which were tackled by applying tough marketing regulations.

However, the doctors said that if no moves were taken then 250,000 deaths could be caused because of alcohol in the next 20 years.

The doctors were headed by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, who has a long history of campaigning for tighter rules to prevent alcohol abuse.

He told the BBC: "Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity like soap powder. It is a drug, it happens to be legal, but it is a drug and there are more than 1.5 million people addicted to alcohol"

"We think, like other areas of public health, like smoking, like seatbelts, there is a strong case for tougher regulation and the most effective regulation would be around price."

 

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