Alcohol should be prohibited in the UK Essay

Submitted By 9frogs
Words: 820
Pages: 4

Alcohol should be prohibited in the United Kingdom. The drug alcohol, to be specific ethanol or ethyl alcohol, a chemical substance found in beer, wine, and spirits is a central nervous system depressant with a range of side-effects. Cell membranes are highly permeable to alcohol, so once alcohol is in the bloodstream it can diffuse into nearly every biological tissue of the body. (WHO, 2010). This essay will give three reasons why Alcohol should be prohibited in the UK namely that its misuse is a cause of chronic liver disease, it is detrimental to mental health and that it would save the NHS billions of pounds. Boffetta (2006) found that the liver metabolises ethanol in alcoholic beverages to acetaldehyde, which is a toxic chemical and a human carcinogen; he showed that acetaldehyde damages both cell DNA and proteins. Parkin et al. (2011) concluded that around 5% of cancers in the UK are linked to alcohol consumption. Drinking 100 g/day has a 4-6-fold increased risk of chronic liver cancers compared to non-drinkers (Boffetta 2006). Jarman et al. (2007) backed the argument for a prohibition by estimating that it takes up to 16 years for the risk of these cancers in a former drinker to fall to the level of someone who has never consumed alcohol. Scotland is experiencing one of the fastest growing rates of chronic liver disease mortality in the world. In the 2007 annual report, (Scottish Government, 2007), the chief medical officer warned that liver Cirrhosis deaths more than doubled over the period between 1987 and 2001 in Scotland alone, and are now among the highest in Western Europe. Recent rises are predominantly due to alcohol misuse. A prohibition would be the urgent and radical action needed to reduce the increase in chronic liver disease in the UK. Another reason for a prohibition is that the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (2013), who estimate 1.6 million problem drinkers in England, have calculated the cost to the NHS of excessive alcohol consumption, to be £3.5 billion a year coupled with a further £91 million on the causes and treatment. A report commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians (2011) supports the notion for a prohibition as it may reduce 38,900 fewer alcohol-related admissions to hospital and cut alcohol-related deaths by 1,149 per year - driven chiefly by a reduction in behavioural problems, chronic liver disease, and alcohol poisoning. The third reason in favour for a prohibition is that alcohol has numerous detrimental effects on the mental health of drinkers. Singleton (2011) showed how alcohol affects the brain with varying mental health side effects resulting from excessive drinking and that long term use is linked to a range of issues from depression and memory loss to suicide. Heavy and regular drinkers are likely to develop some symptoms of depression. Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. (Mind, 2013). Singleton et al. (2011) also confirmed that in the UK people who experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. To summarise, this essay has put forward three reasons for a prohibition of alcohol in the UK. Firstly, to reduce the increase in chronic liver disease predominately due excessive drinking. Secondly to avoid the detrimental effect alcohol has to the mental health of drinkers. Finally the third reason is that it would cut deaths and hospital admissions and save the NHS £3.5 billion in treatment costs related to excessive alcohol consumption.
Boffetta P, Hashibe M. (2006) Alcohol and cancer. Lancet Oncology, 7(2).p.149-56.
Campbell, A. (2013) Britain has