A MAJOR crackdown to reduce alcohol consumption amongst those most at risk of damaging their health has been backed by district council chiefs.
Members of Wychavon’s Executive Board gave the thumbs up to the ‘Alcohol Reduction Plan for Wychavon at a meeting on Wednesday.
The green light came after worrying figures from Public Health England showed areas of Evesham and Pershore were among the highest cases of both alcohol related hospital admissions and higher rates of binge drinking in the district.
Hospital admissions due to alcohol were also recorded in Little Hampton, The Littletons, Honeybourne and Pebworth while binge drinking among adults was also common in Evesham South, Badsey, Bretforton and Offenham, and Harvington and Norton.
The Worcestershire JSNA Briefing on Alcohol revealed Wychavon has higher rates of higher risk drinkers than the national average in all six Worcestershire districts
Wychavon also has the largest estimated proportion of increasing risk drinkers in Worcestershire.
Although alcohol specific and related mortality is significantly less than the England average, there are some conditions which occur more in Wychavon than in England.
Should the plan be approved by the council, Wychavon chiefs will work together with other organisations such as West Mercia Police to tackle the problems.
Wychavon will support and promote alcohol awareness week and officers will team up with off licences in the areas most in need to promote the voluntary restriction of sales of lager and cider over 6.5 per cent and in single cans.
A ‘know your units’ promotion will be carried out alongside efforts to reduce the ‘macho’ image of alcohol consumption.
Council chiefs will also work sports clubs and sports partnership to reduce alcohol consumption during the festive period, over the summer holidays and Bank Holidays as well as during this summer’s World Cup.
The Observer reported on the continued problems with anti-social behaviour and drinking in Workman’s Gardens last year and the scheme will see council officers increase their work with Eastern European communities.
Coun Gerry O’Donnell, executive board member for health and wellbeing, told the Observer he hoped the plan would make people more aware of how much alcohol they were drinking.
“It’s not about stopping people drinking, it’s about reducing the hospital admissions and the harm caused to people’s health from excessive drinking,” he said.
“We had a stall in Evesham recently and asked people to estimate the units of alchol in a typical bottle of wine and can of beer for example and many were way off in their guesses.
“We want to see the Government take more action on the pricing of alcohol and also labelling and I am delighted our MPs are already on board with this.
“Worcestershire’s director of Public Health, Dr Francis Howie will be making the case further on behalf of the county.”
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