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Alcohol warning for Norfolk people

PUBLISHED: 12:04 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 July 2010

People in Norfolk are being encouraged to become more “alcohol aware” by keeping a diary of what they drink over the next few weeks.

It is estimated that about 35,000 people in the county have a mild, moderate or severe alcohol dependency and among the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption are unsafe sex, unplanned pregnancies, higher chance of accidents and aggressive behaviour.

People in Norfolk are being encouraged to become more “alcohol aware” by keeping a diary of what they drink over the next few weeks.

It is estimated that about 35,000 people in the county have a mild, moderate or severe alcohol dependency and among the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption are unsafe sex, unplanned pregnancies, higher chance of accidents and aggressive behaviour.

As part of Alcohol Awareness Week, people who drink on a regular basis are being encouraged to write a drink diary to keep tabs on the units they are having.

Last week, the government announced that alcohol-related hospital admissions are increasing at a rate of 70,000 per year in England and costing £2.7bn each year.

NHS Norfolk and NHS Yarmouth and Waveney are supporting the government's Know Your Limits campaign, which is encouraging people across the country to take stock of how much they drink.

More than two pints a day for men or a large glass of wine for women can increase the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, liver disease, stroke and other diseases.

Jocelyn Pike, NHS Norfolk's lead commissioner for substance misuse, said everyone who enjoys the odd drink of alcohol should think about how much they really consume - not just people who know they have a problem.

“Alcohol Awareness Week gives all of us a spur to think more carefully about how much we drink and the effects it could be having,” she said. “Keeping a drinks' diary is a simple way of making a start.

“Many people are not aware of the serious effects that alcohol can have on their mental and physical health.”

The Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health recommends that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol daily and women should not regularly drink more than two to three units daily.

People should also take a break for 48 hours after an episode of heavy drinking to let their bodies recover.

More than a quarter of the population in England (10 million adults) drink above the guidelines for lower-risk drinking and of these 2.6m adults regularly drink at higher-risk levels

The Know Your Limits campaign has a number of tips on how people can cut back on booze, including avoiding situations where drinking alcohol is encouraged; deciding on the amount of alcohol you want to give up and pacing yourself when you do drink; for example drinking soft drinks in between alcoholic ones.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he found out last month that more than 13,000 children were living with an adult who is dependent on alcohol.

“Whole families are affected when some one drinks too much,” he said. “It has become a massive health and social problem. This campaign is very important because people need to realise what they are drinking.

“I am not talking about the obvious heavy drinkers, but more the people who are having one too many on a regular basis without realising it.”

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