Headlines: October 16th, 2002

The Government has begun consultations on ways to tackle problems linked to alcohol abuse as an important step in the production of a national strategy on reducing the harm caused by excessive drinking.The National Health Service Plan pledges the Department of Health will implement a National Alcohol Strategy by 2004 and, launching the consultation, junior Health Minister Hazel Blears, said it was on target to achieve this.

” The large majority of people who drink do so without causing themselves or others harm, ” she said. “This project focuses on the harm that can be caused by excessive drinking, ” she added.

The consultation is to be conducted jointly by the Department of Health and the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. ” I hope all those interested in this area will help us to ensure that we have identified the key issues, give us their ideas and solutions for future action and tell us what current practice they think has worked well – and what could work better, ” the Minister said.

The strategy will promote action to help those suffering the consequences of alcohol abuse, ways to identify and prevent those problems where possible and measures to manage the results of abusive drinking such as disorder and anti-social behaviour in towns and city centres