Alcohol-use disorders: preventing harmful drinking

NICE guidelines [PH24] Published date:

Review decision: 

This guidance will not be updated.

Next review date: May 2016

This guidance is for government, industry and commerce, the NHS and all those whose actions affect the population’s attitude to – and use of – alcohol. This includes commissioners, managers and practitioners working in:

  • local authorities
  • education
  • the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors.

It may also be of interest to members of the public.

This is one of three pieces of NICE guidance addressing alcohol-related problems among people aged 10 years and older. (See also: Alcohol-use disorders in adults and young people: clinical management; and Alcohol dependence and harmful use: diagnosis and management in young people and adults.)

Alcohol-related harm is a major health problem. The guidance identifies how government policies on alcohol pricing, its availability and how it is marketed could be used to combat such harm (see recommendation 1 to 3). Changes in policy in these areas is likely to be more effective in reducing alcohol-related harm among the population as a whole than actions undertaken by local health professionals.

The recommendations for practice (recommendations 4 to 12) support, complement – and are reinforced by – these policy options. They cover:

  • Licensing.
  • Resources for identifying and helping people with alcohol-related problems.
  • Children and young people aged 10 to 15 years – assessing their ability to consent, judging their alcohol use, discussion and referral to specialist services.
  • Young people aged 16 and 17 years – identification, offering motivational support or referral to specialist services.
  • Adults – screening, brief advice, motivational support or referral.

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