§ Mr. Colin Shepherd
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the discussion document on the prevention of alcohol abuse will be published and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Fowler
The discussion document "Prevention and Health: Drinking Sensibly" is published today (HMSO: £2.95). Copies have been placed in the Library.
Evidence in Britain and world wide shows alcohol misuse to be a rapidly-growing problem, the effects of which spread far beyond drinkers and their immediate families. Commerce and industry, as well as health, social and other public services bear the consequences.
Various recommendations have been made in recent years on ways to prevent alcohol misuse. We have given these careful consideration. Some raise fundamental questions about the freedom of choice of individuals and about the respective roles individuals and Government should play.
"Drinking Sensibly" provides facts about the nature of alcohol misuse, considers the measures—social, legal and fiscal—which might curb it, and includes where appropriate statements of the Government's position. The presentation of the issues is directed towards stimulating discussion and helping people to clarify their minds about the proper aims of public policy and sensible standards of personal behaviour.