Campaign on ‘home drinkers’

PEOPLE in Whitby and district who drink regularly at home are putting themselves at increased risk of illness and disease in later life, say public health experts at NHS North Yorkshire and York.

The latest statistics show that six out of the eight local authority areas in the region rank in the worst 25 for levels of “increased risk drinking”.

Across the borough 21.9 per cent of the population is at increased risk from alcohol consumption, which is slightly better than the regional average which stands at 22.3 per cent.

Research shows that in England, more than 90 per cent of adults drink alcohol and more than a fifth drink at levels associated with increased risk.

The direct cost to the NHS of treating alcohol related conditions is estimated at £2.7 billion a year, whilst the overall cost to society of alcohol use amounts to around £20 billion each year.

In response to this, public health professionals at NHS North Yorkshire and York are highlighting the risks for people who regularly drink at home and asking them to take a look at their consumption on a daily and weekly basis.

Rachel Johns, associate director of public health, said: “The people we are particularly concerned about are those who drink regularly in their own homes. These are not people who are drinking to get drunk and cause antisocial behaviour.

“It is the people who may drink a bottle of wine most nights at home, and maybe a bit more on a weekend, that are increasing the risk to their long-term health.

“Alcohol has been recognised as a factor in many medical conditions including liver disease, heart disease and cancers - contributing to reduced life expectancy.

“In a recent study, alcohol was identified as the most harmful drug, with heroin and crack cocaine in second and third places.

“We are asking people to consider what constitutes safe levels of consumption, and to pay attention to the units of alcohol in their drinks. There is a lot of information available about units of alcohol, and you can always see how many units are in a drink on the label.

“If people moderate their levels of drinking now, they can reduce their risk of developing serious illnesses later in life.”