Wednesday October 17 , 2018

Category: Alcohol Misuse News

Confronting the alcohol issue

Alcohol affects every part of the body and heavy use can be a contributory factor in more than 80 illnesses.

writes IAN McCABE

IN IRELAND, we are sometimes shocked when people at the height of their career, particularly men between the ages of 35 and 55, suddenly drop dead with a heart attack. While there are several reasons for fatal cardiac arrests, the contributory effects of alcohol are often ignored. Given our national relationship with alcohol, perhaps we should come out of our collective denial and acknowledge alcohol abuse as being one of the causes of heart attacks.


Teenage girl ‘ladettes’ just as likely to be alcohol binge drinkers

Teenage girl ‘ladettes’ just as likely to be alcohol binge drinkers

Teenage girls are now just as likely to embark on binge drinking as boys, new figures have disclosed.
Government statistics show that girls aged under 15 are consuming an average 11.3 units of alcohol a week, the equivalent of six medium glasses of wine or five pints of beer.
This compares with 11.9 units for an average male teenage drinker who is aged 11 to 15.


Most adults have no idea how many units are in a drink, survey shows

Drinkaware to send unit calculators to millions following research findings

Three out of five adults are unable to equate alcohol units to drinks, according to research by alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware.

A survey of 4,000 adults found that while 85 per cent have heard of the term ‘alcohol units’ only one in two know how many are in certain drinks.

The survey also revealed less than a third of adults know the recommended daily unit guidelines (three to four for men and two to three for women).

In response, Drinkaware has sent 2.3 million unit and calorie counters to UK homes.

Chris Sorek, chief executive of Drinkaware, said: “Changing the UK’s drinking culture won’t happen overnight but providing consumers with useful tools such as the unit calculator can help them understand what a unit is and how many are in the nation’s most popular drinks.”

As a further incentive for people to have a healthy start to the New Year each Drinkaware unit calculator recipient will have the chance to enter a prize draw to win a weekend for two at Champneys luxury spa.

The first 10,000 entries at will also receive a free unit measure cup.

A standard pint of lager (four per cent ABV) is equivalent to around two units.


High income households among biggest alcohol drinkers

Top earners are more likely to drink alcohol frequently than adults in poorer households, a survey says.

The Health Survey for England 2009 found that 29% of men and 17% of women in the highest-earning group consumed alcohol on five or more days a week.

This compared to just 17% of men and 11% of women in the lowest income households.

The survey interviewed nearly 5,000 adults and 4,000 children.

Its results are published each year and they monitor trends in the health of the population of England.

As part of the survey, commissioned by the NHS Information Centre, all adults were asked to recall how much alcohol they had consumed in the week prior to being surveyed.

The current recommended daily alcohol intake is 3 to 4 units for men and 2 to 3 units for women.

In responding to the survey, 86% of men and 72% of women in the highest income bracket (earning £36,500 or more gross per year), said they had drunk alcohol in the last week.

This compared to 54% of men and 47% of women in the lowest income households (earning less than £10,400 gross a year).

‘Parenting problems’
Overall, 72% of men and 56% of women said they had drunk alcohol the previous week.

But 22% of men and 12% of women said they had drunk alcohol frequently – on five or more days during that week.

And 43% of men and 31% of women had drunk more than the recommended maximum on at least one day that week.

The report says: “On average men consumed 8.3 units on the day they drank most in the last week, and women consumed 5.4 units.

“Average consumption decreased with age among both sexes.”

The report describes alcohol as, “a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers.

And it goes on to describe alcohol’s wider impact on society as, “including damage to unborn children, parenting problems, domestic violence, road accidents antisocial behaviour and crime.”

Tim Straughan, chief executive of The NHS Information Centre, said: “The figures show the extent to which people from all backgrounds drink alcohol both frequently and in quantities that could be harmful to their health.

“They show that a greater percentage in the richest households drink frequently than those in the poorest and that drinking more than twice the recommended levels on at least one day in the previous week is common irrespective of financial status.”

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern said that international research showed a direct link between alcohol consumption and price.

“People on higher incomes have always drunk more than lower income groups, as they can afford more alcohol,” he said.

“The latest figures from the NHS Information Centre reiterate the need for this government to tackle the affordability of alcohol in order to address the health and social harms caused by alcohol misuse.”

The Health Survey for England 2009 also covered a wide range of other health issues such as long term conditions, obesity, smoking and kidney disease.


Morning-after drink driving rises

FOUR in ten drivers are getting behind the wheel the morning after a night of excessive drinking, a survey showed today. Road safety charity Brake said the proportion had increased to 38 per cent from 28 per cent in a similar poll seven years ago.

The latest poll, conducted with insurer Direct Line, also showed 45 per cent of motorists reckoned they would need to reckoned they would need to consume two or more units of alcohol for their driving to be affected. However, one in seven believed it would take three or more units for the alcohol to have an effect.

Overall, more than one third of the 800 drivers and motorcyclists surveyed admitted driving after drinking alcohol at some stage during the last year – down from 51 per cent in 2003.

Brake campaigns director, Julie Townsend, said: “Drink-driving remains a menace on our roads, devastating people’s lives every day. A shocking proportion of drivers seem unaware of the dangers of driving the morning after a heavy night, or even small quantities of alcohol. “We’re appealing to everyone to stay safe over the festive season by planning ahead. Make sure you can get home safely, and stay off the booze if you’re driving home or early the next day.”

Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting at Direct Line, said: “Many drivers seem to be oblivious of the risks of driving in the morning after drinking the night before. “The effect of alcohol on driving ability lasts much longer than a couple of hours after drinking. With this week being the busiest for festive parties, we are urging people not to drink and drive.”

Police said one in eight drivers caught during the summer drink/drug campaign in Scotland were “morning after” offenders – 26 of 216. Chief Superintendent Brian Anderson, spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland on drink driving issues, said: “Drivers should always consider the time taken for alcohol to leave their system and leave a suitable time before driving. Those who choose to drink or take drugs and drive pose a risk to themselves and others. When caught, they will lose their licence and get an automatic 12-month ban. There is also the possibility of a criminal record, imprisonment and a fine of up to £5,000.”

Philip Gomm, of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, said: “Those who drive the morning after heavy drinking put themselves and others at significant risk not just because of the alcohol still in their bloodstream but also the effects of tiredness.

“Many motorists sensibly use a designated driver when they go out to the pub, but a worrying amount still seem unaware it is wise to take similar precautions the following day.”

Automobile Association president Edmund King said: “Many drivers unwittingly drink-drive the morning after a big night out.

Drivers need to be aware of the dangers of still being over the limit in the morning, and if in doubt, don’t take the car out.”

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “Just because you waited until the next morning to drive after a drinking session is no excuse if you are caught over the limit.”


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