Alcohol - let's talk about it...Sandwell marks Alcohol Awareness Week

19 November 2012

Issued on behalf of Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership
Sandwell will mark next week’s national Alcohol Awareness Week (19 – 25 November) by launching a new support website and holding a roadshow event for people who want to get advice.

The website – www.sdap.co.uk – for Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership (SDAP) will give a single point where people can get information and support on alcohol and drug issues.

It will be launched during an Alcohol Awareness Week event on Wednesday 21 November in Queen’s Square Shopping Centre, West Bromwich.

Everyone is welcome to come along between 9.30am and 5pm to discuss with professionals any advice they may need on alcohol issues, whether for themselves or someone they are worried about. Any information discussed will be kept confidential.

Members of the SDAP who will be on hand to give advice include Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team, adult and young people’s alcohol services – Swanswell and DECCA, police, probation and an alcohol recovery support group.

Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership (SDAP), part of the Safer Sandwell Partnership (SSP), is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week, in which Alcohol Concern is urging people that ‘‘It’s time to talk about drinking’’.

The week falls within Sandwell’s Safer 6 campaign, which involves many local organisations working to provide added reassurance and crime prevention activities as the nights draw in.

Councillor Paul Moore, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for health & commissioning, said: 'With one in four A&E admissions being related to alcohol, it’s vital that people who are drinking too much know how to get the advice and support they need. Their families and friends also need to know how to get help.

'That’s why I am pleased to see Sandwell marking national Alcohol Awareness Week by launching this new website and holding a public information event. These are both great ways for people to get advice and information from professionals should they need it.'

Neil Parkes, alcohol strategy development manager for SDAP, said: 'We are encouraging ‘conversations’ about the health risks, social problems, stigmas and taboos associated with talking about the dangers of alcohol misuse.

'Many people who choose to drink are able to do so enjoyably and safely. But others may find that their drinking may be causing a range of health and social issues.  

'Heavy drinking, particularly over time, can lead to a number of health conditions including oral and other cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, cirrhosis of the liver, depression and reduced fertility.

'Alcohol affects your judgement, so you do things you wouldn't normally think of. It makes you less aware of risks and so more vulnerable. You are more likely to have fights, arguments, money troubles, family upsets, or take risks sexually.'

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s chief executive, said: 'Alcohol misuse can affect anyone at any time, yet society still stereotypes people who need help and support because of their drinking.

'It often proves to be a barrier for treatment for many, who may continue drinking at dangerous levels without realising the damage it can cause to their health, relationships and finances among others.

'So we think it’s vital that conversations about the harms of drinking to excess – or even regularly, over time – are encouraged to help remove this stigma and for everyone to take responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse.

'Organisations such as Swanswell can offer a non-judgemental ear for those worried about how much they’re drinking, while providing access to useful advice and support to people who’d like to change and be happy.'

A poster campaign encouraging people to talk about alcohol issues that may be affecting their health, work and relationships will also be running for Alcohol Awareness Week.

And public health chiefs and alcohol service professionals will also be going on local community radio station Raaj FM from 1-2pm on Tuesday 20 November.

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