UK: Pervasive Alcohol’s Harm to Others
A recent study found that one in five people in England were harmed by alcohol use of others. About 1 in 20 people reported experiencing aggression due to another’s alcohol use.
The most common types of harm reported was being kept awake of worrying of another’s behaviour in social situations. However, nearly 1 in 20 people reported experiencing aggression – being physically threatened or hurt – or being pressurised into something sexual.
The survey was conducted with 5,000 people over 16 years of age in England. It looked into the extent, type and frequency of the harms associated with other people’s alcohol use and who was most likely to be affected.
It is clear that [alcohol-related harm] is relatively prevalent and that some individuals experience harm frequently. The most prevalent harms could be considered insignificant, but even apparently minor harms such as sleep disruption can have an impact on health and quality of life, particularly if experienced persistently,” stated the authors of the research as per The Guardian.
While men were slightly more likely to experience violence due to others’ alcohol use, women experienced more emotional harm than men.
Out of the few reporting being forced into something sexual (less than 1%), 23% cited their partner as the perpetrator. However readers are advised to be cautionary when interpreting these results as only 27 respondents said they had been forced or pressurized into something sexual.
Alcohol policy in the UK
More than one third of alcohol users in the UK binge on alcohol and almost half the youth between 15 to 19 years who consume alcohol engage in this harmful behavior. Alcohol is attributed to over 5000 deaths due to liver cirrhosis and over 10,000 deaths due to cancer. 8.7% of the population in UK suffer from some alcohol use disorder.
The data clearly suggest the UK needs to strengthen their alcohol policy to curb the alcohol harm. Specifically the UK lacks legally binding regulation of alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotions, which are recommended by the WHO as effective policy measures to reduce the alcohol harm to people.
The finding that one in five over-16s in England have experienced harm as a consequence of others’ [alcohol use] should encourage policy makers to consider ways to raise the bar further when developing strategies to reduce consumption,” said Bob Patton, a clinical psychologist at the University of Surrey, as per The Guardian.