Background and scope

The safe level of alcohol consumption continues to be the subject of research and policy debate worldwide, but it is clear that excessive drinking can have costs for both society and individuals. In 2022 a member of Parliament expressed concern to the National Audit Office about the provision of alcohol treatment services in England. In this briefing we have collated some publicly available evidence on alcohol treatment services, which affect only a small number of heavy drinkers.

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This briefing describes:

  • the background of alcohol consumption and associated harm
  • spending on, and commissioning of, alcohol treatment services
  • access to, and outcomes from, treatment services

We recognise that a fuller consideration of alcohol harm could include an evaluation of policies, implementation and prevention. However, in the absence of a government strategy for reducing alcohol harm against which we could assess progress, we have set out in this briefing the facts about alcohol treatment services. Services in prisons are not in the scope of this work as they are commissioned by NHS England rather than local authorities.


Publication details

Press release

View press release (21 Feb 2023)

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