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Alcohol Dependency

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on after-care support, with particular reference to (a) housing, (b) education and (c) employment for those treated for alcohol dependency; [119905](2) what discussions he has had with the drinks industry on the labelling of alcoholic drinks

(a) to indicate alcohol units and (b) with health warnings; [119908]

(3) what steps he is taking to ensure that those with alcohol dependency who are receiving treatment (a) receive medical intervention and (b) have the causes of their dependency addressed.; [119944]

(4) whether it is his policy that the maximum target waiting time for those with alcohol dependency should be no longer than three weeks from time of referral to receipt for treatment; [119945]

(5) what steps he will take to ensure that accessible and suitable treatment services for alcohol dependency are provided to everyone who needs them; [119946]

(6) whether it is his policy to designate the tackling of alcohol dependency as having the same priority as addressing drug abuse. [119947]

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, in close collaboration with other Government Departments, including the Department of Health, is currently developing the national alcohol harm reduction strategy, which will sit alongside the national drugs strategy. The Strategy Unit is due to publish an interim analysis of the harms associated with alcohol misuse in the summer. The final report, which will set out the cross-Governmental alcohol harm reduction strategy, is planned for publication in the autumn.As part of this project the Strategy Unit and the then Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Ms Blears), have had on-going discussions with all relevant stakeholders, including the alcoholic drinks industry. There is currently no specific maximum waiting time target for treatment for those with alcohol dependency. However the final report will consider a wide variety of issues around treatment and support for those dependent on alcohol, and will then move to consider specific policy issues, including unit and warning labelling.Provision of appropriate health service provision is the responsibility of local commissioners of services based on assessment of need. There is a wide range of services available for those with alcohol problems requiring treatment. Medical management is available in primary and secondary care. Specialist services provide a range of psychotherapeutic interventions focusing on alcohol use and the wider contributory factors to development of dependence.