DRINKING OURSELVES TO DEATH
New figures reveal another rise in fatalities
A damning report into alcohol abuse has revealed the depth of the problem in North Lanarkshire.
A NHS Health Scotland report released last week analysed the extent alcohol is to blame for admissions to hospitals across the country.
A total of 41,161 patients were admitted due to alcohol abuse in 2015. Accidental injuries, such as falls, accounted for more than a quarter of that total, at 11,068.
And the number of alcoholrelated deaths in North Lanarkshire continues to rise, from 109 in 2015 to 122 in 2016.
Elaine Tod, public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said: “Preventative action is necessary if Scotland is to make long- term reductions in alcoholrelated harm.
“Overall, the results tell us that alcohol consumption has a significant impact on health in Scotland.”
The research found drink was involved in more than 1000 deaths from cancer in 2015 and hundreds of deaths from conditions such as liver disease as well as accidental injuries.
More of the deaths were from cancer, 1048, than liver disease and pancreatitis (812). Other fatal conditions linked to drinking were heart conditions and strokes (544), pneumonia (454) and unintentional injuries (357).
“Alcohol has a wider impact on our health than many people think,” Tod said. “In fact, it contributed to over 100,000 years of life lost due to early death or living in poor health in 2015.
“Reducing harmful alcohol consumption will reduce this impact, and that would benefit everyone: drinkers and non-drinkers, children and families, communities, the NHS and emergency services, employers and the economy.”
Dr Adam Brodie, NHS Lanarkshire clinical director for addictions, revealed their strategy to tackle alcohol issues in the region places “a major focus on prevention”.
He said: “We aim to help reduce the level of alcohol and drug related harm at a community level, prevent alcohol related hospital admissions as well as helping those who need personal assistance with substance misuse issues so they can recover and live productive lives.
“While there is still a great deal of work to be undertaken in Lanarkshire, it is encouraging that the most recent alcohol consumption figures across Scotland showed levels of drinking were falling with fewer people exceeding weekly drinking guidelines.”
Dr Brodie also highlighted the numerous services available for those seeking help to curb problems with alcohol consumption.
There are specific services for families and carers worried or affected by another individual’s problems, children and young people affected by their own misuse or parental substance misuse, employers who need support and guidance to manage staff they are worried about and those who require general information and advice on drugs and alcohol.
There are also patient addiction teams in each of the region’s three hospitals.
For more information see the North Lanarkshire Integrated Addiction Services at www.northlanarkshire. gov.uk