In 2011, the, ‘public health responsibility deal’ was deemed a ground-breaking, public-private partnership that would reduce alcohol problems. The idea behind this deal was that organisations would sign up and commit to play their part in public health. For alcohol companies the core commitment was, ‘We will foster a culture of responsible drinking, which will help people to drink within guidelines’.
Fast forward to 2015 and a scathing report by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) has judged the deal to be a failure. The report suggests that there has not been enough done to tackle underage drinking and that drinks companies have shunned policies that would potentially work, but would also negatively affect their sales.
In their assessment of the progress of the deal, IAS said:
“The responsibility deal appears to have been the main element of the UK’s alcohol strategy in recent years and has been used by the industry to resist more effective policies. If this is the case, the responsibility deal has worsened the health of the nation, and so it must be considered a failure.”
Furthermore, the report also claims there is no evidence to show that improving the labelling of cans and bottles to include industry guidelines (a key industry pledge) is working. Research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that labelling information frequently falls short of best practice, with fonts and logos smaller than would be accepted on other products with health effects.
In response, the Department of Health agreed that there is more work to be done, but believes the deal has improved things. A spokeswoman from the Department of Health stated:
“Under the responsibility deal we have seen a billion units of alcohol removed from the market through improving consumer choice of lower alcohol products, and nearly 93% of all alcohol products now carrying drinking in pregnancy warnings.”
It is clear to see from this debate that although work is being done, alcohol abuse within the UK is still a huge issue. The overall consumption of alcohol has dropped but hospital admissions and alcohol related deaths have continued to increase. In order to fight this problem it is important that everyone is made aware of the dangers of alcohol and understands the effects it can have.
Randox Testing Services
At Randox Testing Services we believe it is important to educate people on the dangers of all substance misuse. Our drug and alcohol testing service includes various types of testing as well as consultancy on how to implement a drug and alcohol testing policy. If you would like more information or feel that your workplace would benefit from talking to one of our experts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.