There has been much in the news this week about alcohol consumption and particularly the chronic over-consumption amongst middle aged and older drinkers . Previously, great attention was paid to young people, to drug use and crime. The Providence Projects always highlighted the fact that addiction and alcoholism were not a crime issue but a health issue and that there has always been a misappropriation of funding. Unfortunately over the last 15 years this approach has failed dreadfully and particular sections of our society have been offered little or no support. Why, for all these years, have people with a drug problem been able to access funding and quality residential rehabilitation centres but those with alcohol problems were offered very little quality help.
The recent report published by Alcohol Concern showed that 55-74 year olds cost the NHS £835 million a year in alcohol related hospital admissions while alcohol related admissions for 16 – 24 year olds cost around £60 million. Earlier this year he and others wrote in The Lancet that it was “entirely within the power of the UK Government" to reduce the number of deaths from alcohol, of which they calculated only a third are from liver disease and last year six leading health groups, including Alcohol Concern, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Liver Trust, all refused to sign up to the Government’s ‘responsibility deal’ on alcohol, a voluntary agreement with the drinks industry aimed at tackling alcohol abuse. They said ministers were not being tough enough on drinks firms. Alcohol and related problems continue to be a real burden on the NHS. If comprehensive and quality alcohol detox and rehabilitation programmes were offered as a frontline solution, it would be great news for the NHS, great news for the government, great news for the alcoholic, great news for their family and great news for society. The Providence Projects have worked with Transport for London for 15 years. At a 5 year follow up after treatment, over 80% of all those that had come to rehab for alcohol problems were still testing sober.