Most people drink alcohol in moderation, but some do abuse the substance at a cost of billions each year to the British taxpayer. Across the UK, millions of adults drink alcohol at levels that risk their health while over a million suffer from alcohol dependence.
Alcohol abuse costs the NHS over £3 billion each year because of alcohol-related injuries and illnesses. The taxpayer must also fund the cost of police time required for alcohol-related incidences as well as the cost of subsequent court cases.
Alcohol abuse is linked to a number of health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. Women who continue to drink when pregnant are putting their foetus at risk of low birth weight, foetal alcohol syndrome, and cognitive deficiencies. There is also an increased risk of miscarriage.
Tackling Alcohol-Related Crime
Alcohol plays a significant role in a number of violent crimes around the UK every year. Many individuals arrested by the police for crimes test positive for alcohol. It is often a key factor in crimes such as stabbings, beatings, domestic assault, and murder.
The Ministry of Justice has recently announced that offenders may be forced to wear ‘booze bracelets’ to limit their alcohol consumption, in a bid to reduce alcohol-related offences. Judges and magistrates are to be allowed to order offenders to be fitted with tags that will test for alcohol levels every thirty minutes. If a person with a tag tests positive for a particular level of alcohol, an alert will be sent to the probation officer. The individual may then be recalled to court, where he or she could be jailed or fined.
Alternative to Prison
The tags have been tested in trials in London and are to be introduced as an alternative to prison for offenders who commit crimes while under the influence. However, they will not be used for domestic abuse offenders.
Those who have been sentenced to alcohol abstinence can be required to wear the tags for up to four months. The idea is that if the person manages to go without alcohol for the four months, no further punishment will be imposed.
The tag wearer will have to be at home twice per day so that readings can be sent to a monitoring centre from a base station. The probation officer will be notified if no readings are sent for two days.
Successful Pilot Scheme
The pilot scheme saw 105 offenders fitted with tags, and more than ninety per cent complied with conditions. The scheme is similar to one famously used in the US where actor Lindsay Lohan wore a tag after numerous drink-driving incidents. The star failed to turn up for a probation hearing and failed to complete an alcohol education class that was imposed as part of her sentence.
In England and Wales, the cost to the taxpayer for alcohol-related crime is around £11 billion each year. According to Criminal Justice and Victims Minister, Mike Penning, “Too much crime and anti-social behaviour is fuelled by alcohol and committed by offenders who won’t control their drinking.”
Alcohol addiction may be a factor in some crimes, but there is help available for addiction. Rehab Helper is a free referral service helping addicts to access treatments for their addiction. If you or a loved one needs help for addiction, contact Rehab Helper’s team of dedicated staff today.
Our expert advisors and counsellors will provide you with information on what treatments are available and will direct you to the most suitable rehabilitation centre for your needs.