Published November 11, 2016 at 11:56
Alcohol Awareness Week takes place next week with various events planned around Blackburn with Darwen to encourage people to think more about their alcohol intake.
The theme for this year’s initiative is ‘Know The Risks’ and from November 14-21, Blackburn with Darwen Council will be working alongside Inspire – the local substance misuse treatment service for adults – and GO2 – the local substance misuse treatment service for young people – to raise awareness.
Other partners including Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Blackburn College will also be involved.
The aim of the week is to get people thinking and talking about the health risks, social problems, stigmas and taboos of drinking and to challenge stereotypes about who is likely to be drinking too much.
Alcohol harms can range from physical violence, road traffic accidents, relationship problems, financial difficulties, feeling scared in public places or negative impacts on children.
During Alcohol Awareness Week, the organisations involved will be using social media to promote daily themes on subjects including the relationship between alcohol and cancer, depression, dementia, breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension and brain damage.
On Tuesday, November 15 the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol will be placed into stark reality with a crashed car display in Blackburn Town Centre. There will be opportunities to talk to Fire and Rescue Staff and staff from Inspire GO2 Community Education Team as well as activities raising awareness of drink driving risks and how to avoid them. The emphasis will be to raise awareness that, although there is a legal limit, there is no safe limit – any alcohol in the body affects the ability to drive safely.
On Wednesday, November 16, the Inspire GO2 Alcohol and Drugs Education and Health Promotion Team will be visiting Blackburn College to discuss and raise awareness of a range of alcohol issues, including unsafe behaviour and the impact of alcohol related harm on individuals, families, employment and communities.
In the run up to the week, Inspire / GO2 have also been providing pharmacies and GP practices across Blackburn with Darwen with a wide range of health education materials for use with the public on the above themes. They have also be raising awareness around risk issues such as drink driving, antisocial behaviour, alcohol effects on older people, alcohol during pregnancy, the relationship between alcohol use and a range of cancers and the effects of low cost alcohol on individuals and the costs society.
Alcohol Awareness Week comes in the same year as new national guidelines on alcohol consumption were announced by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMO.) These followed a review into the evidence on the links between alcohol and health harms.
The new guidance states that the limits for both men and women are the same – which is to not drink more than 14 units a week, and spreading these units evenly over 3 or more days per week. It also stresses that even small amounts of alcohol have the potential to cause harm.
Councillor Brian Taylor, Assistant Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
Problem drinking has a huge impact on this borough in terms of people’s health. The resources we need to use to tackle it are massive. Alcohol Awareness Week is great for creating conversations about the issues involved.
Jackie McVan, Service Manager Blackburn with Darwen Inspire and Go2 Integrated Prevention & Recovery Service, said:
Alcohol awareness week gives us an opportunity to open up discussions about our own, and other people’s, alcohol consumption. Many people are affected by the consequences of alcohol use, in many various ways. The focus of Inspire and Go2 is to raise awareness, educate people to understand risks from using alcohol, and improve health and wellbeing for the people and communities of Blackburn with Darwen.
For any further information about the local events, please contact John Smith or Hasan Sidat on (01254) 495014 (Option 1), or email: BwDTraining@cgl.org.uk