Turning Point's Chief Medical Officer responds to new alcohol guidelines

News item posted: 08 January 2016

Dr. Gordon Morse, Chief Medical Officer at Turning Point said:

'The Chief Medical Officer for England’s new guidance around alcohol, which includes reducing the upper limit of low risk drinking to 14 units a week for men as well as women, will come as a surprise to many members of the public and possibly be seen as "nanny state" intrusion into people’s freedom to enjoy themselves.

'However this very well considered piece of guidance is built upon solid scientific evidence and should be heeded. Health and community services are increasingly seeing the impact of the harms from alcohol which are insidious, often imperceptible until they have occurred, and affect a much greater population than the minority who have lost control and become alcohol-dependant.

'The UK’s public perception of alcohol as a necessary social lubricant and a pre-requisite to "having a good time" needs to change in much the same way as it has with tobacco consumption; not for some abstract moral reason, but of necessity, for good health and wellbeing to extend into old age, and without the negative consequences impacting on the nation’s health and social care systems.

'This guidance is mostly influenced by the gathering evidence base around the role of even modest alcohol consumption in the development of cancers, and builds upon the wealth of evidence of alcohol's harmful effects in the causation of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, dementia and accidents.

'Other nations and other cultures manage a much more balanced and circumspect attitude to alcohol than the majority of those in the UK, where a "normalisation" of heavy drinking has become the cultural norm. This report brings yet more science to the argument that it is the UK as a whole that needs to change its attitude to alcohol.'