Shocking statistics of alcohol dependence

Alcohol dependency probably affects Europe more than any other region in the world, Glenis Willmott has told an international audience, which included Tony Blair’s former press secretary Alastair Campbell and a speaker from the World Health Organisation, at the launch of a major report in Brussels today.

Hosting an event to launch the report on alcohol policy, Mrs Willmott said that estimated social costs attributed to alcohol amounted to over €150 million.

“And of course the human cost of alcohol dependency is enormous.” She said.  “This issue must be addressed not only at national level but at European level too.”

The MEP, who is Labour’s public health spokesperson in the European Parliament, added: “Much of the legislation we work on in the Parliament can have a huge effect on alcohol policy.  We missed a huge opportunity last year when we agreed new food labelling laws.”

“I was fighting to have more nutritional labelling on alcohol, including the amount of calories labelled on the front of the bottle.   Unfortunately my amendments were rejected after fierce opposition from the drinks industry, and alcohol was excluded from the legislation altogether.”

“We have a new opportunity this year as we will be debating the new EU Health for Growth programme, and I’m pleased that the European Commission has identified alcohol as a key risk factor for many diseases.”

“I’m also hopeful that the Commission will come forward with a new EU alcohol strategy as the current one runs out at the end of this year.”

“This is a chance to take some real action to address alcohol dependency, it’s economic, social and human costs.”

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