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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Alcohol "‘more deadly than cannabis"

A former Home Office Minister has voiced his belief that alcohol is a far greater threat to people’s health than drugs, citing the 13 deaths related to cannabis use in the UK last year compared to alcohol’s 7,000.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who resigned from the Home Office last month, said he was shocked by the extent of Britain’s drinking culture adding that its dangers had been underplayed, according to reports by The Telegraph. 

During his time as the UK’s Crime Prevention Minister, Baker attempted to shut down a JD Wetherspoon’s pub – the first to opened at a motorway service station.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the deaths of 13 people in 2013 were related to cannabis, compared to the 7,080 related to alcohol.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Baker said: “These figures show that we need to be less hysterical about cannabis and worried more about alcohol. I’m in favour of evidence-based policy, and we underplay the dangers of alcohol. Politicians need to reflect that society has changed since the 1970s, so the rhetoric should change.”

His comments follow work in the trade to cut one billion units from the market by 2015 – a target it is on track to achieve – while below cost alcohol promotions were banned by the government in April of this year.  

A large proportion of the trade has also pledged to improve health labelling of alcohol as part of the UK government’s Responsibility Deal, agreeing that 80% of their combined product labels must carry “clear unit content, NHS guidelines and a warning about drinking when pregnant”.

There have also been calls to impose a minimum 45p per unit on all alcohol which researchers at the University of Sheffield said would save an estimated 624 lives and prevent 23,700 hospital admissions.

Source: http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/