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An evidence based alcohol reduction policy
  1. Nick Sheron (nick.sheron{at}soton.ac.uk)
  1. Southampton General Hospital, United Kingdom
    1. Noel Olsen
    1. Independent Public Health Physician, United Kingdom
      1. Ian Gilmore (ian.gilmore{at}rcplondon.ac.uk)
      1. Royal College of Physicians, President, United Kingdom

        Abstract

        In October 2007 the BBC performed a survey of British Society of Gastroenterology members in which they asked a number of questions about the changing patterns of alcohol related disease they were seeing in the UK. Of the 115 responses, only 9 had seen no change in alcohol-related liver disease over the last 10 years; 92% reported a rise, usually large. Recurrent themes were the increase in women presenting with alcoholic liver disease and the younger age of presentation. Nearly three quarters of responders had seen patients of 25 or under with alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis, and nearly a quarter had patients in their late teens. These depressing findings are in line with the report by the chief medical officer in 2001: 'In the last 30 years of the 20th Century deaths from liver cirrhosis steadily increased, in people aged 35 to 44 years the death rate went up 8-fold in men and almost 7-fold in women, in 25-34 year-olds a 4-fold increase was seen over the 30 year period'. The UK situation is in stark contrast to the decrease in liver mortality in Mediterranean countries over the same period of time (figure 1).

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