Barnsley joins together with 2,000 other communities to highlight the risks of drinking too much for Alcohol Awareness Week 2019
How many units are in a pint of beer or glass of wine? How long does it take your body to break down alcohol? What does alcohol do when it reaches your brain?
These are just some of the questions being explored for this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week, taking place between 11 and 17 November, led by Alcohol Change UK.
This week Barnsley Council will join 2,000 other community groups to highlight the impact that alcohol can have on our bodies, our lives and those we love, and how by making changes to our drinking behaviour we can become healthier and reduce our risk for many serious health conditions including cancer, mental health problems, and liver disease.
Understanding the risks of drinking too much is an important first step in helping us drink more healthily. Yet estimates show that 84 per cent of people are unaware of the official low-risk drinking guidelines meaning that the vast majority do not have the information they need to make informed choices about their drinking.
The national picture on alcohol-related harm shows:
- Each year, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 24,000 people in the UK. And is the biggest risk factor for deaths among 15-49 year olds.
- Hospital admissions due to alcoholic liver disease in England have increased by 43% in the last 10 years.
- In England there are an estimated 589,101 dependent drinkers and less than 20% are receiving treatment.
- Around 200,000 children in England are living with an alcohol-dependent parent or carer which can have lifelong negative effects on their health and wellbeing.
- Each year alcohol misuse is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion, and an estimated 167,000 years of working life are lost as a result of alcohol.
In Barnsley, figures suggest that alcohol-related hospital admission s in Barnsley are 13.8 percent higher than Yorkshire and Humber and 25.5 percent higher than England. Furthermore, across the last five years, hospital admissions in Barnsley have risen by 15.9 percent, while levels for England overall have reduced by 1.3 percent.
Alcohol Awareness Week aims to get people thinking and talking about alcohol, to motivate change at every level – individual, community and national.
Through the Barnsley Alcohol Alliance, the council has an Alcohol Plan in place, with seven priorities and a number of outcomes it wants to achieve, including a reduction in the amount of people diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease; the amount of alcohol related hospital admissions, the amount of alcohol- related crime and disorder; the amount of dependent drinkers; and increased awareness and understanding of alcohol related harm across the Barnsley population.
Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “It can be easy to slip into bad habits with our drinking. But small changes can make a big difference to our health.
“Alcohol harm is avoidable and yet it still remains a factor in the death of three people every hour. This has to change. As well as the harm caused to individuals, alcohol can also have a significant adverse effect on those around us, including the 200,000 children in England who are living with an alcohol-dependent parent.
“So this year's Alcohol Awareness Week is all about helping people to better understand the risks of drinking and providing advice on how we can change our drinking behaviour for the better. This can be as simple as being sure to have a few drink-free days each week, deliberately choosing the lowest strength drinks, making every other drink a non-alcoholic one, or downloading an app, for example Try Dry, to track your drinking and keep you motivated.”
Take part in this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week by visiting the Alcohol Change UK website to:
- Test your knowledge on all things alcohol with the alcohol quiz
- Explore the interactive body map to see how alcohol affects our bodies
- Take a closer look at the drinking guidelines to better understand how much is too much
- Get top tips on ways to cut down
- Find extra support if you need it
Barnsley Council’s commissioned alcohol and drugs/substance misuse service is Recovery Steps, delivered by Humankind. The service has experienced and professional teams who will work with individuals on their journey to recover from alcohol and/or drugs. They can be contacted for support or referral on 01226 779066, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.