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Other people's drinking harms up to 79% of Brits

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 Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “Nursing staff see the destructive consequences of alcohol abuse every day and the RCN has been calling for the introduction of minimum pricing for many years. High strength, cheap alcohol is easily available, and too often ends in trips to overstretched A&E departments or long-term health problems, not to mention personal tragedy and family problems.”

The survey, produced by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, 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).

Carter said: “Sadly, there is no immediate cause for optimism as the government quietly cut £200 million from public health budgets only last month. Changing a drinking culture can take time, but failing to tackle problem drinking can have effects which can persist for generations and harms the drinker, the people around them and ultimately the whole NHS.”