Alcohol Awareness Week 2015
Alcohol Awareness Week 2015 runs from Monday 16 November to Sunday 22 November.
We are supporting this year’s national campaign week, led by Alcohol Concern, which urges us all to think about the impact of alcohol on society.
For many of us, alcohol is an enjoyable part of our social and family life, enhancing special occasions and time spent socialising. Many people like a drink to help them relax or wind down after a busy day.
However, drinking regularly and over the recommended guidelines has a hidden cost to us all. The misuse of alcohol by people, young to old, is linked to a wide range of health problems, crime and disorder, and to loss of work productivity. This is increasing the burden on the services we all pay for through taxes, such as health, police, fire and rescue and ambulance as they deal with incidents caused by alcohol within our communities – whether due to accidents, house fires, violence, unprotected or unwanted sex, or ongoing health issues.
5 reasons to drink less
1. The cost
Alcohol-related healthcare costs in our area during 2012/13 were an estimated £21.4m, equating to £63 per adult, with 82,134 alcohol-related hospital admissions and attendances in Kirklees. Alcohol-related admissions continue to rise – and locally, admissions for females are on the increase.
2. Your health
Drinking above the daily recommended limits can cause sleeping problems, weight gain, tiredness, depression, memory loss and sexual problems. Alcohol also increases the risk of developing numerous medical conditions, including: cancers of the mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast; high blood pressure, and liver disease. The chronic effects of drinking can take up to 20 years to show, which then may need urgent and costly treatment.
Drinking can affect your relationship with your friends and family – even if this is not what we normally think of as ‘problem’ drinking. Alcohol problems figure in up to 60% of cases of child protection. Even at lower levels, children learn about drinking behaviour from their families, way before they reach adolescence.
4. Professional life
Alcohol can have a damaging effect on workplace productivity, safety, health and morale. In particular, where employees are doing jobs that need a high level of alertness to stay safe, impairment from ‘the morning after’ effect can be potentially catastrophic. Up to £17 million lost each year to alcohol-related absence from work, costing the nation £1.5 billion (Interim Analytical Report) and up to 20 million working days lost annually to alcohol-related reduced employment.
5. Safety of yourself and others
Drink driving remains a real threat to road safety – many people plan to get home safely by taking a bus or taxi, but some risk driving after drinking, guessing that they are under the limit. It takes one hour to process one unit of alcohol, so the effects can still be apparent even the morning after. If you are driving, the only safe way is to adopt a personal zero limit and avoid drinking any alcohol at all.
Cllr Viv Kendrick, our cabinet member for early intervention, prevention and vulnerable adults said:
Alcohol Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of alcohol abuse and encourage people to make healthy, safe choices. The good news is that many of the impacts of alcohol can be prevented, without spoiling your social life.”
These events give you a chance to chat and find out more, and take part in activities. So look out for them across our area, in your local Kirklees Active Leisure centres and Huddersfield and Dewsbury Bus Stations. Plus, hospitals in Dewsbury and Huddersfield will have workers keen to share information with you.
Still need persuading – check out Brenda’s story
Fancy cutting down?
If you want to find out more about the benefits to reducing your drinking visit drink aware’s website for more information. Your doctor will also be happy to chat in confidence and recommend sources of help, even if you are not addicted to alcohol.
If you are thinking about reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, why not take part in Dry January 2016? The campaign challenges you to stay alcohol free for 31 days, feel the benefits of cutting down and help you think about making a change. Visit Dry January’s website for more information and look out for more news over the next month.
If you think you need specialist help, contact the alcohol service, On Trak, in Huddersfield on 01484 437907 or Dewsbury on 01924 486170 for more information.
Young people who would like support for alcohol issues can contact The Base on 01484 541589.