Doctors say cut binge drinking by cutting down the sale of cheap booze

The medical profession in Britain has called for action on the sale of cheap alcohol because they believe it is fuelling an epidemic of binge drinking.

In a poll of doctors and nurses it has been revealed that most believe eliminating the sale of cheap alcohol would be the best way to deal with binge drinking problems.

According to a survey of 205 medical specialists who treat patients suffering from alcohol-related conditions, 73% believed action was needed on low-priced alcohol while 81% thought consumption would fall if prices rose.

The majority polled, 84%, also believed the government's public health campaigns to address the problem were ineffective and say a different approach is needed.

Calls earlier for a minimum price for alcohol to curb the amounts people drank because were rejected by the government on the grounds that it would penalise the sensible majority - the recommended minimum price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol, would have almost doubled the price of some discount beer and wine - evidence suggests that teenage drunkenness and excessive drinking in general, is costing the National Health Service in Britain 2.7 billion pounds a year.

While taking action on very cheap alcohol seems to be on hold, campaigns warning of the danger of alcohol abuse continue but experts say this is not enough, as evidence from those at the frontline, doctors and nurses treating patients with drink problems, do not believe that this will reverse the binge drinking culture.

Nurses organisations also say there had been serious under-investment in resources for alcohol treatment, and funding has not kept up with demand.

According to the latest government statistics nearly 40% of men and 25% of women in Britain exceed the recommended daily limit on alcohol consumption, while young people and teenagers are consuming ever more quantities of high-alcohol 'alcopops'.

Around 10 million people in England are thought to drink more than the government's recommended limits, which are no more than two to three units a day for women and three to four for men.

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