The Horsham District Community Safety Partnership and Health and Wellbeing Partnerships are coming together for the first time this year in an initiative to jointly promote Alcohol Awareness Week, a national campaign which runs from 19 to 25 November.
Alcohol is a key theme for both partnerships, owing to the strong links with crime and disorder, health risks and social problems associated with excessive drinking.
The local theme for Alcohol Awareness Week 2012 is ‘it’s time to talk about drinking’ and both partnerships are urging residents to consider this and talk about how much they are drinking as well as the risks involved both to themselves and other people, including their loved ones.
According to statistics collected by the national charity Alcohol Concern, over 10 million adults in England are now drinking more than the recommended daily limit of two to three units for women and three to four units for men with 2.6 million people drinking more than twice this amount.
It is also estimated that 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are drinking hazardously and 705,000 children are living with dependent drinkers.
Natalie Brahma-Pearl, chair of the Horsham District Community Safety Partnership, said: “The Community Safety Partnership is fully committed to supporting Alcohol Awareness Week and its key messages.
“Despite being a very safe place in which to live, work and visit, we know that unfortunately excessive alcohol consumption is linked to a number of crimes including; criminal damage, road casualties and incidents of violent crime.
“Our advice during the awareness week, and reiterated throughout the year is simple: firstly, don’t drink and drive and secondly, make sure you know your limitations with alcohol as the costs can be catastrophic.”
During Alcohol Awareness Week 2012, West Sussex Public Health will be officially launching a new alcohol website for people across West Sussex (www.dontbottleitup.org.uk). People visiting the website can assess their drinking and the impact their drinking may be having on their health.
Dr Ann Corkery, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Partnership, said: “We are encouraging people to visit www.DontBottleItUp.org.uk, which allows them to work out what level of risk they are at as a result of their drinking.
“Residents can also access personalised advice online and find out where you can get face to face support locally.
“By visiting ‘Don’tBottleItUp’, people can find out what effect their drinking is having on their health. Their intake of alcohol need not be binge drinking to put their health at risk. By visiting the site, people can find out more.
“The test only takes about five minutes and there is a range of specialist help and support available, including support from Horsham Wellbeing – go to ‘Don’tBottleItUp’ to get started.”
The Horsham District Wellbeing Service can offer individual advice and a wealth of information on safe drinking levels, and can help people to find local information and support services.
Residents can also get support and motivation for many other wellbeing issues, such as getting the family fitter, doing some regular exercise, dealing with stress, kicking a habit, or simply improving general wellbeing, by calling 01403 215111.
Jo Brewster from Horsham Young Person’s Alcohol Initiative said: “In the last year we have worked with a considerable amount of young people affected by a parent or family member’s alcohol use, which has often caused them anxiety and distress and may have led to their own risky use of alcohol.
“Alcohol Awareness Week, Dry January and DontBottleItUp are useful reminders and tools for people of a broad age range to reflect on their own and others’ use of alcohol and become more aware of their own health and safety.
“This is key to making positive changes. We will be encouraging young people, parents and families to get involved in the awareness campaigns and activities we’ll be holding at the Y Centre in Horsham town centre between 19 and 25 November.”
Local drug and alcohol drop-in sessions are run in the Horsham District by West Sussex County Council’s Drug and Alcohol Team for anyone needing support or advice about a friend or relative.
For more information, call 01243 382641 or visit the website www.westsussex.gov.uk/daat
Horsham District Wellbeing is a free, friendly and impartial service delivered by Horsham District Council and other partners, which is funded by NHS West Sussex.
For more information, call a Horsham District Wellbeing advisor today on 01403 215111, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.horshamdistrictwellbeing.org.uk.