Alcohol Awareness Week: Swanswell renews calls for better alcohol education and information

15 November 2013

Swanswell’s renewing calls for better alcohol education and clearer information to help tackle problem drinking, as part of Alcohol Awareness Week.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is joining thousands of organisations across the country to raise awareness of the harms of alcohol, as part of an annual campaign led by Alcohol Concern.

This year, Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 18 November to 24 November, and gives people the opportunity to learn more about the health risks, social problems and stigma associated with problem alcohol use, and how to tackle them appropriately.

Problem alcohol misuse costs society around £21 billion a year to deal with including £3.5 billion in NHS costs and billions more in related crime, lost working hours and accidents.

Swanswell believes preventative measures could help reduce the likelihood of alcohol use becoming a problem, with access to clearer information and better education being key to helping people make informed choices about their drinking.

Throughout the week, Swanswell will be taking part in a number of awareness-raising events including Sandwell, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Barnsley (Carer Support Service).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Problem alcohol use costs thousands of lives every year and billions of pounds to deal with, yet it’s something that’s entirely preventable in the first place.

Experience tells us that more investment in alcohol education and clearer information will go a long way to helping people make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol.

Better alcohol education in schools, compulsory questions in the driving theory test and information at the point of sale are just a few of the examples of measures we think could make a big difference, along with increased investment in support services.

All of which will help people have the right conversations around alcohol and encourage those who need help to access support, helping them change their lives for the better.’

Alcohol Awareness Week is also focusing on the importance of Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training, which helps health professionals, not already working in alcohol services, identify and support people whose drinking may be causing them harm.

Debbie added: ‘We’ve recognised for a while that IBA training is an important tool to help a range of healthcare services identify and support people who could be affected by problem alcohol use but might not realise it.

Since 2012, we’ve been working with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to offer this training to organisations in the town and it’s going well. However, we can also offer similar training in other areas too.’

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