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The University of Southampton

Increasing awareness and reducing deaths from alcohol-related liver disease

The University of Southampton’s sustained program of clinical and policy alcohol research is intrinsically linked to a powerful media and political campaign co-founded by our academics and co-ordinated by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA). The result has been a marked increase in public and political awareness, linked to a recent fall in liver deaths for the first time in many years.

Research Challenge

Over the last 30 years liver deaths fell in the EU but rose by 500% in the UK. Over 80% of these deaths in the UK were alcohol related.


 In 2004 a report by the Academy of Medical Sciences kick-started the modern debate on alcohol policy. In the same year a Government Alcohol Strategy reviewed the evidence for policy change but failed to take account of this important research.

Our Solution

 In 2007 Southampton academics co-founded the AHA, bringing together a range of bodies to create a policy manifesto based on research, with the ultimate aim of reducing alcohol deaths.

Our research team studied the effectiveness of alcohol policy measures which consistently showed a combination strategy is more effective than single measures.

Significant AH- led media exposure of research in this field, along with direct involvement with influential bodies including NGOs and the UK Government directly has established an increasing circle of influence.

What was the impact?

 Southampton’s research activity formed the core of the AHA campaign and initiated the concept of clinicians and academics working with NGOs to lobby for evidence-based alcohol policy.

In March 2008 Alistair Darling introduced a 2% alcohol duty escalator. The upward trend in liver deaths finally reversed as a result of multiple factors which include increased public awareness and fiscal policy.

Additionally a system of EU wide independent monitoring was proposed by Southampton and unanimously accepted by the EU Commission.

Raising awareness of alcohol-related liver disease
alcohol and liver disease

Press Releases

University of Southampton press releases


Press Releases

External press releases


Key Publications

List of all staff members in
Staff MemberPrimary Position
Nick SheronProfessor and Head of Population Hepatology Research Group
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