The Government share the concerns about reports of increases in alcohol-related deaths and we are monitoring the situation closely. It is worth bearing in mind that for the vast majority of the country, drinking alcohol is convivial, has been central to our social lives for centuries and enjoyable in moderation. As Winston Churchill said:
“I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”
But for some families, a small minority, abuse of alcohol has been hugely damaging. This is a cross-cutting issue affecting several Government Departments, and there is a strong programme of work under way to address alcohol-related health harms and impacts on life chances, including an ambitious programme establishing specialist alcohol care teams in hospitals, and to support the children of alcohol-dependent parents. The Government have committed to publish a new UK-wide cross-Government addiction strategy. This strategy will be informed by Dame Carol Black’s continuing review of drugs, part 2 of which focuses on prevention, treatment and recovery. Taxpayers are providing £23 million funding this year for substance misuse treatment and recovery services for rough sleepers. This is a really difficult issue, because most people use alcohol well and enjoy it, but it is important to help and protect those who go to excess.