Alcohol Use Disorders (39) Do people understand the harms of alcohol? (10) Does alcohol have health benefits?

11 February, 2024

Hi Neil

I do want to contribute to this highly interesting set of issues around the harms of alcohol, especially about the impact on others (especially family members) of the heavy or harmful use of alcohol. I am in the middle of a very busy time, so will make that contribution later.

For now, I will respond about the issue of conflicting or inconsistent information [*see note below], by drawing attention to an important current debate, internationally and within the pages of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs – see here for a summary of one position in the debate:

and then here for the other side and further commentaries:

The fundamental reason for the conflicting information is that the science is not yet clear (although both ‘sides’ in this debate argue that it IS clear).

I hope that reading through these (quite short) papers will clarify some of the issues.

Best wishes

Richard Velleman

Professor Richard Velleman <>

Emeritus Professor of Mental Health Research, University of Bath

Co-Director, Addictions and related Research Group, Sangath Community Health NGO, Goa, India

Trustee and Treasurer, AFINet (Addiction and the Family International Network)

HIFA profile: Richard Velleman is Emeritus Professor/ C-Director, Addictions and related Research Group. Organisation: Sangath, Goa, India/University of Bath, UK. Professional interests: Addiction; families; mental health. Email address: r.d.b.velleman AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (NPW): Thank you Richard Velleman. All: Richard refers to recent messages on HIFA that highlight inconsistencies in the way that the potential benefits of alcohol are communicated. The choice of words for this new subthread - Does alcohol have benefits? - is mine. We look forward to further contributions on this topic, which illustrates a number of important aspects of how we interpret and communicate evidence.]