Shock statistics show Burnley’s drink shame

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SHOCK statistics have revealed Burnley is battling a big booze problem.

Figures released by the Local Alcohol Profiles for England highlight the town as performing “quite badly” compared to other areas in England.

In 2009 there were 34 deaths in the Burnley area related to alcohol misuse and in the last two years 74 young people from Burnley under the age of 18 were admitted to hospital with serious alcohol-related conditions.

And the highest death rate in England from alcohol misuse is in the North West.

Dr Sohail Bhatti, interim Director of Public Health at NHS East Lancashire, said: “There are some real areas of concern for these figures relating to Burnley but the local NHS and its partners are working hard to address these.

“Regularly drinking above recommended daily limits can damage your health. It can cause liver problems, high blood pressure and also puts you at increased risk of a heart attack and some forms of cancers.

“Alcohol-related harm has now become a major public health problem, many people are not aware of the serious effects alcohol can have on their mental and physical health. Around a third of patients looked after by mental health services have an alcohol-related problem.

Health bosses at NHS East Lancashire are supporting this year’s alcohol awareness week to highlight the dangerous affects alcohol can have on young drinkers in Burnley.

The week-long campaign, running from Monday, will focus on creating debate and highlighting the social and hidden cost of alcohol misuse.

Dr Bhatti added: “This is a great opportunity for us all to promote responsible drinking and get involved in healthy public debate on the hidden health and social costs to individuals, families and our communities when alcohol is misused.”

It is estimated 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are drinking to hazardous levels and 705,000 are living with dependent drinkers. Nationally, alcohol-related deaths continue to rise and have more than doubled since 1992 when there were 4,023 deaths. In 2008, this rose to 9,031 deaths, the highest death rate in England being in the North West.

A range of organisations, including the NHS, police, local authorities, prisons, probation and voluntary organisations, Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team, and Lancashire Alcohol Network work together to spread the message about responsible drinking, during Alcohol Awareness Week and throughout the year.

Events and activities planned across East Lancashire in Alcohol Awareness Week include:

An online survey ‘Whats the damage’ to understand what the consequences of drinking alcohol are for the population of East Lancashire www.surveymonkey.com/WHATSTHEDAMAGE.

The use of Facebook - www.facebook.com/lancashirecare for posting of articles and signposting treatment services available for East Lancashire residents. Educational tools around alcohol harm will also be available to help people understand the amounts of alcohol they are consuming· .

* A daily online debate on Twitter – www.twitter.com/lancashirecare.

Partners will be delivering awareness events at settings such as schools, colleges and town centres. These will be posted daily on Facebook and Twitter.

During the week pharmacies will also be offering advice and information to anyone concerned about the level of their own or another’s drinking. And anyone who believes they may have a drinking problem themselves is asked to contact their GP.