With alcohol a factor in causing more than 60 medical conditions, Wiltshire Council is once again supporting this week’s Alcohol Awareness Week.
The week, which is run by Alcohol Concern runs until 20 November, aims to get people thinking about alcohol and how it affects people, families, communities and society as a whole. This year’s theme is alcohol and health to help people understand the relationship between particular health conditions and alcohol.
In 2015 Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service (WSMS) had 677 alcohol-related clients and helped two thirds of them to successfully complete treatment.
Alcohol is a factor in the cause of a number of medical conditions including mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.
Guidance says that people should not drink more than 14 units a week, spread over at least three days with at least two alcohol free days a week. A unit is half a pint of 4% lager, beer or cider, 25ml measure of a 40% spirit or just 76mls of 13% wine.
Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Jerry Wickham, said: “Although many people drink in moderation, the facts speak for themselves – alcohol consumption causes health damage and is a contributing factor for a number of conditions.
“We don’t want to stop people enjoying a drink now and again but hopefully these types of awareness weeks make people think a little before grabbing another beer or deciding to open another bottle of wine.
“Alcohol related conditions have a huge knock-on effect for health services but many can be prevented by people cutting down the amount they drink.”
In order to support its work to promote alcohol awareness, Wiltshire Council has an alcohol strategy in place which sets out the strategic priorities for local partners and identifies how it will tackle alcohol related harm and associated anti-social behaviour.
The main objectives of plan are to:
• Raise awareness of sensible and responsible drinking levels and reduce the levels of high risk drinking
• Reduce the level of alcohol related harm
• Support individual treatment need to reduce levels of chronic and acute ill health caused by alcohol
• Maintain Wiltshire’s safe communities and manage our night time economy environments
For those who feel they have a problem with alcohol, WSMS is an integrated community drug and alcohol recovery service for adults aged 18 years and over, providing services across Wiltshire. They offer counselling, structured group work programmes and access to residential treatment.
Young people can also get support specifically tailored for them. Motiv8 is a service for young people who need help with substance misuse and provides advice and guidance specifically aimed at people aged 17 and under. They can be contacted on 0800 169 6136 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.