DRINK­ING OUR­SELVES TO DEATH

New fig­ures re­veal an­other rise in fa­tal­i­ties

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Ben Ra­m­age

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

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