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3 August 2015, 07:43
Essex County Council is launching a new alcohol awareness campaign after figures revealed a quarter of people in England are now drinking at hazardous levels.
Alcohol is now the second biggest risk factor for cancer after smoking and a root cause of ill health.
The countywide campaign, which launches next week, aims to raise awareness of alcohol misuse and the dangers associated with drinking. It also aims to encourage people to check how at risk they are via an online tool, https://dontbottleitup.org.uk/
The Department of Health predicts that in Essex almost a quarter of a million people over the age of 16 report being engaged in hazardous drinking, which means women regularly consuming 15-35 units and men consuming 22-50 per week.
Cllr Anne Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities and Healthy Living, said: "Alcohol misuse has a real impact on the lives of all those suffering and involved. This campaign will highlight the dangers associated with drinking and direct those in need of help to information and support. It is hugely important that people know the dangers associated with drinking and where to go for help. The tool will also give them the opportunity to find out their risk level and what the next step might be."
The cost of alcohol to society is estimated at £17-22 billion, or even as high as £55 billion, and up to 17 million working days are lost annually through absences caused by drinking.
A quarter of people in England drink at hazardous levels, the number of dependent drinkers now stands at 1.6 million. The cost to the NHS of dealing with this is £2.7 billion every year, and is expected to continue rising to £3.7 billion. A burden that is unsustainable. Over 70 per cent of the cost of alcohol-related ill health is spent on hospital treatment, of which inpatient costs alone account for almost 45 per cent.
The campaign will involve advertising, social media and posters distributed throughout the county.
To take the alcohol test and for more information please visit https://dontbottleitup.org.uk/