Bristol’s Big Drink Debate launches Alcohol Awareness Week

beer

A city-wide survey looking at the public’s attitudes to alcohol is launching today (14 November) at the start of Alcohol Awareness Week.

Bristol’s Big Drink Debate  will run throughout the winter months. The council’s public health team asking questions to find out why and how people drink – in a bid to understand individuals’ experiences of alcohol within the city.

In Bristol it is estimated that 84% of people over 16 drink alcohol and over 20% of those risk long-term harm to their health. The city has a high level of alcohol related hospital admissions and deaths compared to the England average.

The survey responses will be used to shape how alcohol misuse is tackled in Bristol in line with a new Alcohol Strategy (2016 – 2022) which has been developed alongside partner organisations, including the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group and Avon and Somerset Police.

To launch the Big Drink Debate a pop-up event is taking place on College Green today  where passers-by will be given special scratch cards and can take part in interactive games to test their knowledge about alcohol. The survey will be available online from today and hard copies will be available at locations across the city, including in bars and pubs.

Becky Pollard, director of Public Health at Bristol City Council, said: “Bristol’s Big Drink Debate isn’t about telling people what to do or how to behave. People drink for different reasons so we’re trying to canvas opinions to work out how we can reduce health problems for the population and improve community safety.

“As outlined in my recent annual report, drinking too much is a major cause of early preventable death and if we don’t act then liver disease has the potential to become the UK’s bigger killer within a generation. There is a common misconception that only binge drinking causes harm, but many people are regularly consuming too much alcohol without realising the long-term damage it can cause.

“We need to get people talking and thinking about this so we’re going to be asking some controversial questions during the Big Drink Debate. Don’t be afraid to have your say.”

New guidelines released by the chief medical officer at the start of the year highlighted that there is no safe drinking level, but to minimise health risks it is advisable to drink no more than 14 units per week.

A recent Quality of Life Survey showed the highest percentage of people who don’t drink alcohol for at least two successive days per week is found in Filwood (58%) and Hartcliffe and Withywood (58%),

In contrast the lowest proportion of people who don’t drink for two or more consecutive days are in Windmill Hill (25%) and Clifton (26%).

Bristol’s Big Drink Debate is being launched following an alcohol summit which took place last year and bought together key partner organisations from across the city. The survey will be available from 14 November until 30 January.

To have your say visit www.bristol.gov.uk/bristolsbigdrinkdebate or join the conversation on Twitter by following @bccpublichealth and using the hashtag #Bristoldrinkdebate.

For  help or advice about drinking alcohol speak to your GP, visit Alcohol Concern www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/ or contact ROADS, a local support service in Bristol: www.bdp.org.uk/about/roads.html  In Knowle West  the Women’s Independent Alcohol Support (WIAS) runs weekly groups on Fridays from 10.30am- 12.30pm at Filwood Community Centre. A helpline runs Wednesday evenings from 6-10pm on 0117 942 8077. Visit www.wiaswomen.org.uk

To keep track of your drinking try the new One You Drink Tracker – available as a free app to download: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/apps#sXmT2tzILozDWtgQ.97