13:32 Sunday 29 December 2013

Health chiefs aim to cut alcohol misuse

Written byROB SMYTH

MEDICAL chiefs at Burton’s Queen’s are encouraging ‘safe drinking’ in a bid to get people thinking about the consequences that excess alcohol consumption can have on both themselves and emergency resources.

Tim Shaw, alcohol liaison officer at the Belvedere Road site, spoke to the Mail in a bid to cut the level of alcohol misuse, an issue that often rises sharply during Christmas and the build up to new year celebrations.

He said: “It is important to offer support, advice and guidance to all those experiencing problems with alcohol.

“Ranging from harm reduction advice, help for family members concerned about their loved ones drinking and subsequent referrals to local services such as the Burton Addiction Centre.

“Alcohol plays a big part in the festive season, and the safety message around this time of year needs to reflect not only those who are drinking too much, but the family members who are affected by that individual’s damaging alcohol use too.

“Remember that alcohol is a depressant and can turn positive, happy situations sour as well as making tough situations even worse.

“It can also be a very lonely time for some. So don’t turn to alcohol just to cope, talk to someone and get help this time of year.”

The primary safety message focuses on overall family safety, as evidence suggests a strong association between alcohol use and violence in the home.

Alcohol related domestic violence rises by more than 10 per cent around the festive period in East Staffordshire.

Common triggers for alcohol misuse include many of the stresses and situations that are norms over Christmas and new year and range from financial pressures due to increasing fuel costs to combat the cold, to social pressures at work parties and family gatherings, to personal pressures of buying ‘the right’ present and getting everything done in time for Christmas Day.

It is also worth highlighting the effects of binge drinking, which can be a major issue with more social situations that involve alcohol from work Christmas parties to presents of bottles of bubbly and whiskey.

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