In North West England 79% of people are harmed by another person’s drinking, and in Scotland it harms more than half of people, research published today revealed.
The harm they experienced included being harassed or insulted on the street by someone who had been drinking, feeling unsafe in public, being kept awake at night and being sexually harassed.
Age also seems to be linked to rates of harm, as those aged 16-34 reported greater rates of harm than older age groups, however one in five adults have been harassed or insulted on the street by someone who had been drinking.
Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), said: “Everyday in our surgeries, GPs are dealing with the fallout of alcohol abuse in some of our patients’ lives, and this report really hammers home the devastating ‘domino effect’ on families and the wider community. It is also an enormous financial drain on the NHS and the economy.
“GPs see minimum pricing as a major step forward in tackling this problem. It could be the catalyst we need to create a change in individual and societal attitudes and behaviour towards alcohol,” she said.
The survey also revealed that people felt unsafe in public (36% in Scotland and 19% in North West England), were kept awake because of drunken noise (30% in Scotland and 49% in North West England) and were sexually harassed (15% of people in North West England).
The RCGP believes that minimum pricing will reduce hospital admissions, improve people’s physical and mental health, create safer and healthier communities, and save lives.
“We hope policymakers will take heed of this important report and draw on its messages to implement effective measures to reduce or prevent alcohol-related harm,” Baker said.