THE FIRST STOP Bus will be in the town centre on Wednesday 16th November as part of Alcohol Awareness Week (14-20 November).
Experts will be on hand at the bus, which will be situated between 9am and 4pm in Broad Street by the entrance to the Oracle, to offer help and advice on alcohol consumption.
The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week is “Knowing the Risks” with the aim to get people thinking about alcohol – how it affects individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.
The campaign aims to highlight the relationship between particular health conditions and alcohol; Alcohol being one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, after smoking and obesity.
Alcohol is a known factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Lead Member for Health, said: “Most people enjoy a social drink or two but it can be all too easy to slip into the habit of regularly drinking more than the recommended safe amount.
“The health benefits of cutting down (or cutting out) alcohol, are immense. As well as improving your general health in the short term, longer term, re-evaluating your alcohol consumption can have a far reaching effect, helping to avoid serious health conditions, such as cancer, coronary heart disease and liver disease.”
People can find advice and a helpful unit calculator at www.alcoholconcern.org.uk
Notes to editors
The media are invited to a photo call with Cllr Hoskin at the First Stop Bus on Wednesday 16th November.
Alcohol Awareness Week is a national campaign from Alcohol Concern.
People who are worried about their drinking habits can also get support from their GP surgery.
In Reading, it is estimated that some 30,000 people are drinking alcohol at ‘hazardous’ levels (that is above the recommended daily limit) and some 4,500 are drinking at ‘harmful’ levels (that is at levels that is causing harm to physical and/or mental health). Alcohol-related healthcare costs in Reading were an estimated around £7.2m, equating to £57 per adult.
Alcohol is one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, after smoking and obesity. Deaths from liver disease have reached record levels, rising by 20 per cent in a decade.
How much is too much? Know your units
Binge drinking is defined as drinking two or more times the recommended daily upper limit in any one day. The new guidance maximum recommended amount to drink is the same for both men and women, which is not drink more than 14 units a week, and spreading these units evenly over 3 or more days.
The alcoholic strength of a drink is measured in ‘units’. For example, a pint of normal strength beer (4%) contains 2.3 units, a large glass of wine (250mls) contains three units and a single measure of white spirits such as gin (37.5%), which is just 25mls, contains 0.9 units, whilst dark spirits, such as brandy and whiskey (40%) contains one unit.
The number of people being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions continues to increase and, for example, alcoholic liver disease is the few major causes of ill-health and death which is on the increase in England (whilst decreasing in other European countries) with deaths reaching record levels, having risen by 20% in the last ten years.