People in Bradford are being challenged to give up alcohol for January, with individuals being asked to pledge money or get sponsored to motivate them to stick to the challenge.
The call follows on from the Alcohol Awareness Week theme which was ‘it’s time to talk about drinking’.
The week’s slogan provided all kinds of conversations about the health risks, social problems, stigmas and taboos associated with talking about the dangers of alcohol.
It allowed local groups in Bradford to focus on different areas and encourage those with a problem to seek help.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s consultant hepatologist Dr Paul Southern welcomed the focus on alcohol and spoke out to break down the stigma of drinking within the Muslim community and encouraged those with a problem to seek help.
Latest figures released by Alcohol Concern revealed that the 55 to 74 age band imposed a greater burden on the taxpayer than other groups and the cost of treating alcohol problems in middle-aged people in the Bradford district is 9.5 times higher than the bill for treating teenagers and young adults.
In Bradford, alcohol-related inpatient admissions for 55 to 74-year-olds cost £8.6 million and those aged 75 and over cost a further £4.5 million, while 16 to 24-year-olds cost £900,000 and 25 to 54-year-olds, £7.5 million.
The research also found the cost for treating men was almost twice as high as the cost for treating women. In Bradford, male admissions cost £13.6m, while female admissions cost £7.7m.
The total cost of alcohol-related treatment in Bradford is £35m (including £6.7m in A&E attendances and £7m in outpatients appointments) – equating to £88 per adult.
Figures for the Bradford district were also higher than the Yorkshire and Humber average, with 108,190 alcohol-related admission, compared to an average in the region of 72,821.
In Bradford 138 died from alcohol-related causes – 101 men and 37 women – compared to a regional average of 105. Of these deaths 60 were due to chronic liver disease (41 men and 19 women).
Dr Southern said the way Alcohol Concern had presented the data was very powerful and encouraged people to take up the challenge of a dry January. He said: “It makes you look at our city and see how it is being affected by alcohol misuse – 108,190 alcohol-related admissions – it is in your face.”
Tips to cut down on your alcohol intake include:
- alternate alcohol with soft drinks or water
- use a smaller glass
- make certain days of the week ‘alcohol free’
- avoid drinking in rounds and topping up your drink
- eat before you go out and while you are drinking
- drink lower-strength drinks, half pints instead of pints or dilute your drink to make it last longer.
For more help, visit: bradfordrecoverysystem.org.uk; drinkaware.co.uk or alcoholconcern.org.uk
Recommended limits are:
- men: three to four units a day and no more than 21 units a week
- women: two to three units a day and no more than 14 units a week.
It is advisable to have two alcohol free days per week.
If you are pregnant or trying for a baby, it’s best not to drink at all – but if you do, you should have no more than one to two units a week.