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Armed Forces: Alcoholism

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 16th February 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Conservative, South West Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the debate on the Armed Forces Covenant of 2 February 2017, HC column 1270, when he expects the alcohol working group to publish its findings.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The MOD Alcohol Working Group was formed in 2014 and has implemented a number of initiatives targeting alcohol use including; improving the guidance to individuals and Commanding Officers; partnering external agencies such as Public Health England and Drinkaware in their national awareness campaigns and developing a new alcohol strategy.

The aim of the evidence-based strategy, which will be finalised in the spring this year is to deliver a strategic approach in changing attitudes towards alcohol consumption which involves a four-stage approach of prevention, intervention, protection and education.

Last year, a screening programme was introduced at annual dental inspections which will enable better data-gathering to facilitate better-targeted awareness campaigns.

The Army is leading on the development of a Unit Alcohol Advisors' course which aims to train individuals to be a focal point in each unit for all matters relating to alcohol; promoting a sensible attitude to drinking; raising awareness of health factors related to alcohol misuse; and championing the change of attitude required to change culture. Each service has a training and education programme and is engaged in a rolling programme of health promotion, warning of the consequences of hazardous drinking and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.

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