Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Non-existent problem, misleading headline, made up statistics, biased reporting, fake charities ...

This article in The Metro has got the lot...

Cheap booze blamed as alcohol deaths double in 18 years

Non-existent problem, misleading headline? Check! As the article explains, "The rapid rise in deaths which can be directly attributed to drinking too much has levelled out since the early 1990s but levels are still higher than they were just less than two decades ago, researchers have found."

"The average death rate for men has rocketed from 9.1 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 18.1 in 2007 while the female rate has risen from 5.0 per 100,000 to 8.7."

Biased reporting? Check! As the article explains "In 2007 8,724 people died as a result of alcohol, fewer than in 2006 but more than the 4,144 in 1991." So out of over half a million deaths per year in the UK, a bit more than one per cent are alcohol-related.

" ... more than a third of adults drank more than the recommended daily alcohol limit in the week before they were interviewed for the ONS General Household Survey 2007."

Made up statistics? Check! What they omit to mention is that a third of adults had drunk more than the (ridiculously low) daily limit ... on one occasion in the previous week.

"Don Shenker, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, said ... Alison Rogers, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust said ..."

Fake charities? Check! I've covered Alcohol Concern before (click label for details), The BLT* is new to me, yup, it's fake charity number 298858.

From page 8 of their annual report ...

"Over the past year, we have started to build a better income stream from the pharmaceutical industry, but had a very disappointing response from the alcohol industry, with the admirable exception of Diageo who gave us £7,500 for our Alcohol and liver disease publication, but who otherwise point us to the Drinkaware Trust**. The Drinkaware Trust gave us just £1,800 in the year.

News from the Department of Health (DH) was bleak in that our grant requests for around £250,000 of support for work on alcohol, blood borne viruses and cancer translated into an offer of £18,000..."

That's a downright lie of course. Note 3 on page 18 says:

"Two Department of Health Section 64 grants are receivable: £40,000 for core activities and £50,000 restricted for the purpose of running the hepatitis C and liver disease helpline."

* Cue Dearieme with the "Bacon, lettuce, tomato" joke.

** Oh God, it just never stops - The Drinkaware Trust is fake charity number 1094586.