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Alcohol Awareness Campaign – ‘Think B4 U Drink’ Launched

November 21, 2012, 4:53 pm

A new regional campaign ‘Think B4U Drink was officially launched yesterday to Humberside.

Yesterday Councillors, Chief Fire and Police Officers, along with Alcohol Misuse Workers and NHS staff were in attendance to understand how a range of agencies within the region; including Humberside Police, NHS, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Humberside Fire and Rescue and Safer Roads Humber are working together on an alcohol awareness campaign called ‘Think B4 U Drink.

Safe drinking is a priority for all agencies involved and this campaign is the perfect outlet for all organisations to get their safe drinking messages out there to our communities.

Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health said at yesterdays presentation: “Alcohol misuse is a major public health issue in the United Kingdom; it places a heavy burden on health and social care services, on the criminal justice system and on society as a whole. The problems associated with heavy drinking affect a large number of people across the social spectrum and lifespan.

“Alcohol is now the second biggest risk factor for cancer after smoking. Alcohol consumption and obesity are the main factors that will make liver disease Britains biggest killer within the next five years. Overtaking cancer, strokes and heart disease. It will be killing people at a younger age than any of these.

“Alcohol doesnt stop at damaging your health; alcohol misuse is often a factor of long-term social issues. For example, it can lead to: divorce, family break-up, domestic abuse, unemployment, homelessness or financial problems.

Chief Inspector for Neighbourhood Policing in the East Riding, Alan Farrow, said: “For many of us, drinking with friends and family is one of lifes pleasures. We use alcohol to unwind, to celebrate, to have a laugh and to socialise, but alcohol can also have a negative side to it. Having too much to drink on a night out can not only give you a hang over but can leave you in very dangerous situations. Like getting into a fight, making you vulnerable to sexual assault, being tempted to drive home drunk or accidentally setting fire to the house making some supper. Drinking too much over a long time can also have long terms risk to your health, your relationships and your family.

“Over half of all reported violent crimes in the East Riding happen in a public place between 9pm and 4am on a Saturday night into Sunday morning, which are thought to be fuelled by alcohol.

“Locally the cost to the criminal justice system of a glassing in a public house resulting in serious facial injuries has been estimated at £212,500. The cost to the health service of dealing with the victim of such a crime has been estimated at £180,000. A serious drink driving road traffic collision costs society approximately £178,160. This is a significant amount of public money, which if prevented could have been used effectively elsewhere.

“Police staff resources are increased by 100% over a weekend, in order to police violent crime hot spots. Nationally alcohol related crime costs the nation £8 billion – £13 billion per year.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Safety, Chris Blacksell from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said at the presentation: “The impact alcohol has on the fire service ranges from a fire in the home, which may involve fire deaths and injuries, arson, or road traffic collisions involving a drunk driver.

“One fire death alone costs society over £1.5 million pounds. The annual cost of road traffic collisions in the UK is up to £32 billion and most importantly the cost to families of those affected is immeasurable. That is why Humberside Fire and Rescue Service are proud to support such a campaign to raise awareness.

Throughout this significant summer of 2012, partner organisations have been promoting the campaign at a variety of events in the East Riding. Some of these were nationally celebrated occasions such as the Queens Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Armed Forces day. Others included smaller local events such as Sewerby Gala, Cottingham Show and Beverley race days.

These provided the perfect opportunity for campaign representatives to access a wide range of audiences and promote the importance of safe drinking. A variety of information leaflets were distributed along with a whole host of useful and fun freebies including bottles of water, lollipops, Frisbees, waving flags and even a tasty, healthy vegetable curry for our race day attendees which was rustled up by the NHS.

The summer has all but gone now and the dark cold evenings are a clear reminder of that as we prepare ourselves for the winter period. During the build up to Christmas, the campaign Think B 4 U Drink will be put into service across each organisation who make up the partnership.

A new Think B4 U Drink website also went live yesterday, which offers advice and core information from each emergency service and partner of the campaign.

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