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According to official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of alcohol related deaths in the UK has increased from 8,664 in 2009 to 8,790 in 2010. Alcohol related liver disease was responsible for for nearly two thirds of all alcohol-related deaths in 2010.

Men accounted for 67% of the figures. The number of deaths among men went from 5,690 in 2009 to 5,865 in 2010.

The Department of Health estimated in 2008 that alcohol abuse costs the NHS £2.7bn a year.

The Home Office has confirmed the launch of a consultation period to discuss changes to be made within the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The plan is for the Government to introduce a secondary bill for late night levy and early morning restriction orders (”EMROs”) with the aim to be dealing with the problems of late night drinking.

A consultation period has been launched which encourages from all interested parties including charities, licensees and landlords aswell as the general public to have their say on the proposals. The consultation is open until 10 April 2012. Comments should be submitted either online or via email.

In November 2011 the Home Office Select Committee launched an enquiry into UK drug policy.  In particular the focus was on the Government’s 2010 drug policy, and how effective it has been.  It was also to examine the UK policy on reducing the supply and demand of illicit drugs worldwide.

As part of the review organisations and the general public were invited to submit written submissions voicing their opinion.  Due to the interest generated the Committee have extended the date for written submissions to 7th February 2012.

In a campaign running from December 1st to January 1st police officers in England and Wales breathalysed 157,000 drivers which lead to more than 7200 arrests.

The increase has lead to concern that drink and drug-driving campaigns are not effective enough.  In particular young drivers showed an increase with 5.7  giving positive results in comparison to 4% of over-25s.

In the UK, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 35mg per 100ml of breath although police forces would encourage a “none for the road” attitude for drivers. Deputy Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police Suzette Davenport commented “Even just the one drink can significantly impair your judgement and for that reason I recommend drivers don’t drink alcohol and drive.”

The second of four meetings by the Scottish Health Committee is taking place today to further discuss the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill.  Members of the drinks industry both in support and opposition for the bill have been invited to Holyrood to debate minimum pricing and to determine its effectiveness in reducing the harm caused by alcohol.The effects of alcohol are estimated to cost Scotland £3.5billion a year.

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