Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:29 pm on 18 October 2007.

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Photo of Viscount Falkland Viscount Falkland Liberal Democrat 12:29, 18 October 2007

Absolutely, my Lords, I agree with the noble Lord. He and I share a position as patrons of a treatment centre that is probably one of the most successful in the country and he knows as well as I do the importance of the business of clamping down on retailers who sell illegally. I absolutely agree with him.

The other issue is the use of units in health. I do not think that units in health are very helpful, because they give an overall picture that does not deal with variations in physiques, size, age and so on, except that women have different problems from men. Generally speaking, the use of units as an educational tool is not very effective.

I see that I am running out of time. I shall just list some areas that I have jotted down where a strategy is needed. Apart from the nation's health, juvenile drinking and drunk driving, which I talked about, there is domestic violence and child abuse, where drinking is often a cause of sad cases that are well publicised. There is pub and club violence, which we dealt with when discussing the Bill that I referred to which changed the drinking hours and gave longer hours for pubs and clubs. There is women's drinking, absenteeism and its economic cost. All those aspects need a strategy and tactics to achieve that strategy. That makes it extremely complicated. It is a question of time, but Governments do not have time. The short termism of Governments is not helpful in addressing what is still a very grave problem in our society.