On the Agenda - Increase in alcohol dependency drugs

- In a nutshell The number of prescription items dispensed to treat people for alcohol dependency in England has risen 12 per cent in a year. A new report from the NHS Information Centre found that 150,445 prescription items for two specific drugs were dispensed in 2009 at a cost of £2.38m.

New research: alcohol
New research: alcohol

- What's the detail?

In 2009, nearly 95,000 prescriptions were dispensed of Acamprosate Calcium, which helps restore the brain's chemical balance to reduce a patient's withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. During the same time period, more than 55,500 prescription items were dispensed of Disulfiram, which causes a severe and unpleasant reaction in the patient if they drink alcohol.

- What else did the report find?

The report revealed that in 2009 in England, on average 271 prescriptions were issued for alcohol dependency per 100,000 of the population.

- PR strategy

The results were sent out on general release last Tuesday by the NHS Information Centre's in-house press team. The team is unable to embargo releases due to rules regarding the publication of national statistics.

- Media coverage

The Daily Mail used the headline: '150,000 prescriptions for alcoholics in a year', while The Guardian focused on the fact that fewer schoolchildren are consuming alcohol. The Daily Telegraph also covered the story, but concentrated on the fact that professionals are more likely to drink than those in working-class jobs.

150k prescriptions were dispensed for two specific drugs during 2009

12% rise in prescriptions for two specific drugs from 2008 to 2009

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