Day 8 – the Big Issues

The Big Issue does not only help homeless people to earn a legitimate income and access support and opportunities to rebuild their lives, it’s always well worth reading for its thought-provoking articles about a range of social issues.

This week’s edition has an article by Vicky Carroll about the UK’s binge drinking culture and its cost to society “in cash and lives”- on the financial side an estimated £21bn a year, including £11bn in crime and social disorder, £3.5bn for the NHS and £6.4bn lost to the economy. Minimum unit pricing at 50p in Scotland and 45p in England and Wales is being introduced as a measure to reduce alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions.

Investing in specialist alcohol treatment is also desperately needed to reduce alcohol-related harm to individuals and society. For every £1 spent on specialist alcohol treatment, £5 is saved on health, welfare and crime costs. If we put money into services which help people with alcohol issues, we all benefit.

Please do everything you can to support the Dry January campaign to raise money for Alcohol Concern by sponsoring me online at and telling people about it. We’ve already got to a running total of £267 and we CAN make a real difference.


2 thoughts on “Day 8 – the Big Issues

  1. I can see how the per-unit charge might possibly make a difference (in that those who beg will need to panhandle a little longer before scraping together the coins for a drink) but in another way it makes no difference whatsoever. I looked at what I drink and nothing I would even consider drinking is as cheap as 50p a unit. Yeuch! My drinks of choice are Pimms, and M&S Pina Colada! Yet liver failure killed my dad (who would probably have considered himself to be middle class) and is probably damaging me too, though I have regular liver profile blood tests in the hope of at least being aware of it. I realise we arent the people you will see as your service users, but I wish the government would recognise that liver damage affects all kinds of people.

    This is perhaps even more prescient as I remember clearly that the last time I saw you was the day that Amy Winehouse died. The second inquest today announced that she died from alcohol poisoning… something which we all think will not happen to us, but it makes me wonder….

    Anyway, your blog is thought provoking, which is very valuable. I hope others are being equally inspired to reflect on their habits.

  2. Hi Flash, thanks for your comments. You’re absolutely right in highlighting that liver disease is a killer and rates are rising to record levels in the UK, with more and more young people affected.
    It’s easy to “let drink sneak up on you” and get into a habit of daily drinking, for so many reasons, and not realise that you can be seriously increasing the risks to your health. There’s a lot of “hidden drinking”- middle classes drinking half or a full bottle of wine in front of the TV most nights, who would fall into this category. The minimum pricing is not going to hit them (us?!) as hard as the poorest people, as with so many government initiatives. We need more awareness-raising campaigns to get the message across that everyone is affected by alcohol- it doesn’t discriminate!

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