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Boozing puts one in five at risk

PUBLISHED: 09:45 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:41 03 July 2010

Sobering thought: Experts fear many Norfolk people are putting their health at risk through drinking .

Sobering thought: Experts fear many Norfolk people are putting their health at risk through drinking .

One-fifth of people in Norwich are putting their health at risk through drinking, according to a new report.

And drinkers across the county have been warned that they could be risking liver damage, cancer and heart disease without even realising it.

One-fifth of people in Norwich are putting their health at risk through drinking, according to a new report.

And drinkers across the county have been warned that they could be risking liver damage, cancer and heart disease without even realising it.

Norwich has one of the highest levels of risky drinking and the highest level of actively harmful drinking in the region, according to the report from the Eastern Region Public Health Authority. Six per cent of people are not merely risking their health but actively damaging it through their levels of drinking.

The city has the highest death rate caused by alcohol, particularly among men, while Yarmouth has one of the highest death rates. Also, Norfolk has one of the highest drug-related death rates in the region.

Meanwhile, data compiled for the report shows that between 21.29 and 22.55pc of people aged 16 and over in the Norwich area are engaging in what is described as hazardous drinking.

Daniel Harry, partnership liaison officer for Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: “There is a segment of the population in Norfolk severely damaging their health.

“Alcohol is cheaper now than it has been in the last 20 years; it is more widely available; it is more extensively marketed; and the choice of products is wider. We cannot escape alcohol in today's society, so it is not a surprise that people are drinking more, particularly at home, where the attitude is that alcohol is just another commodity to be purchased with the weekly shop.”

Mr Harry warned there was general confusion about what the units of alcohol system and Department of Health sensible drinking guidelines meant. But he said: “There is still a lot that can be done, especially good-quality advice.”

This region as a whole has lower levels of alcohol and drug problems than the national average. Mr Harry said places such as Norwich had higher drug and alcohol problems because people were attracted to cities and there were higher rates of deprivation.

The report, called Substance Misuse in the East of England 2007-9, says: “The urban centres of the East of England experienced the highest alcohol-related death rates.”

It adds: “The rate of alcohol-specific hospital admissions for females aged 15-19 has increased from 94 per 100,000 in 1996-1997 to 164 per 100,000 in 2006-2007 and is now similar to the rate of admission for males.”

Drug-related deaths have fallen across the east of England, but there was a rise in Norfolk and Suffolk between 2006 and 2007, though the 2007 Norfolk figure was still lower than 2004 and 2005. According to figures collected by coroners - there are varying statistics - Norfolk has the second-highest drugs death rate in the region, behind Peterborough.

Visit www.nordat.org.uk for more information about help with drug and alcohol problems.


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