Swanswell backs campaign to get the nation talking about alcohol misuse

19 November 2012

Swanswell’s getting behind a national campaign encouraging everyone to talk about alcohol use.

During Alcohol Awareness Week (19 to 25 November), the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will raise awareness of the health risks, social problems and stigmas around alcohol misuse.

Over the coming days, Swanswell will be attending a number of events across the country as part of Alcohol Concern’s campaign asking whether people are having the right conversations about drinking.

Problem alcohol misuse costs the UK economy at least £18 billion a year (HM Government) and around one in four people drink in a harmful way (NHS statistics). Despite this, society still stigmatises those affected by alcohol misuse, which often proves to be a barrier to treatment.

Swanswell is joining calls to change the conversation by encouraging informal discussions among parents, young people, carers and others around alcohol use and how accessing treatment can help people turn their lives around for the better.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Alcohol misuse can affect anyone, yet society still stigmatises people who have got to the point where they need help and support.

A very small proportion of the people who come to us fit the stereotypical group of street drinkers. People come to us from many different backgrounds - and alcohol misuse isn’t just about binge drinking.

Many don’t realise how thin the line is between drinking sensibly and alcohol use becoming hazardous. Before long, alcohol use can spiral out of control affecting relationships, work life, finances and can lead to serious health problems too.

All of this can be avoided with the right approach to alcohol use – having informal and open conversations with younger relatives about the risks, thinking about your own alcohol use and being more supportive of those affected will all help.

In order to take the right approach, they need access to clear, consistent information and education about alcohol - something that needs to be readily available however they choose to access it.

Ultimately, we all need to accept some responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse because it’s not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

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