The consumption of alcohol is a source of pleasure for millions of people across this country, and evidence suggests that the majority drink moderately and do not exceed the recommended number of units per week. That said, I fully recognise the significant harm that the misuse of alcohol can inflict on a minority of individuals, the families of those affected by addiction and local communities.
Whilst there are no plans to publish a standalone Alcohol Strategy, the Government is working to tackle alcohol harm and misuse in several areas.
This includes providing investment through several programmes to tackle alcohol misuse, working through bodies like NHS England. Local authorities across England will benefit from an extra £421 million of Government funding between 2023 and 2025 to improve drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
The extra funding means that total local authority funding for treatment will have increased 40 per cent between 2020 to 2021 and 2024 to 2025, and will enable the creation of over 50,000 high-quality places in drug and alcohol treatment.
It is important that people have accurate information and clear advice about alcohol and its health risks, allowing them to make informed choices about their drinking.
Constituents may also be interested to read about my work raising awareness of the dangers of spiking: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-58790190
As a woman, an MP and a mother with two girls, I have been horrified to see the rapid rise in reports of women being spiked in nightclubs in recent months, although this has clearly been an issue for many years. I am also deeply concerned by the reports of women being drugged via needles in nightclubs and elsewhere.
As I said on BBC South East and BBC Sussex, two years ago someone spiked my drink in Haywards Heath whilst I was speaking to a friend - fortunately I spotted the tablet and managed to get it out of my glass. However, even before this, at another bar, I was a victim of a spiking although the only damage was a loss of memory and coordination during the evening, before a friend helped me home. However, it goes without saying there are countless girls and women who are not so lucky.
Since my interviews, I’ve been astounded by just how many people from across the county have shared their experiences with me, and I have spoken to both PCC Katy Bourne and the Safeguarding Minister at the Home Office about the action being taken.
I’ve also written to the Home Secretary about the possibility of introducing additional restrictions on the sale of needles and paraphernalia to restrict the ability of these would-be criminals from targeting innocent women and girls. I am encouraged that she has already requested an urgent update from police on investigations into reports of women who may have been spiked. It is therefore vital that this behaviour is reported to the police. My letter to the Home Secretary can be read in the link: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/my-thoughts-spiking-nightclubs
You can read more about my work on alcohol harms and spiking below: