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Don't let drink make Christmas stink!
Tuesday 18th December, 2012

During the season of goodwill, many of us like to indulge in a few festive tipples.

But it’s a sobering thought that as well as affecting our long term health and leaving us exposed to accidents, the effects of drinking can also put us at serious risk of becoming a victim of crime.

What is more, over indulgence can also make us act totally out of character, leading for instance to acts of anti-social behaviour, drink driving or even violence.

Cllr Keith Cunliffe, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Wigan Council cabinet portfolio holder for healthier communities, says:

“We recognise that most people enjoy alcohol safely and sociably and never come to either immediate or long term harm.

“However, there are still too many people who fail to realise the damage they are causing themselves by exposing themselves to serious long term health conditions.

“And alcohol misuse can also have a detrimental impact on families and communities, and is often a contributory factor to incidents of domestic abuse, violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Wigan Council fully endorses any initiative which helps to reduce the harm caused by binge drinking on both the individual and the wider community”.

Dr Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health in Wigan Borough, adds:

“We don’t want to spoil anybody’s fun but we urge people to look after their health and consider the long term implications.

“Try alternating alcohol with water of soft drinks. Whether you’re at home or on a night out, stay within the recommended drinking levels of 21 units for men and 14 for women and have at least 2 alcohol free nights a week. Eat before you go out and avoid buying drinks in rounds where the pressure is on to keep up with others”.

Young people in particular are at risk from the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Typically, they have a lower body mass and are less efficient at metabolising alcohol. There are also neurological factors due to changes that occur in developing adolescent brains after alcohol exposure.

“Young people are much more vulnerable than adults to the adverse affects of alcohol,” says Cllr Susan Loudon, Wigan Council cabinet member for children and young people.

“Alcohol exposure impairs judgement and increases the likelihood of accidents and trauma. It can lead some young people to take unwise risks, such as climbing into cars with strangers, taking unsafe late night shortcuts home or having unprotected sex. They may not be aware that their drinks could be spiked with dangerous substances. Or they could end up embroiled in anti-social behaviour and at risk of getting into trouble with the law.”

Young people who feel affected by parental alcohol or substance abuse can access support from Wigan’s Hidden Harm team on 01942 487972.

If you are concerned about your own, or someone else’s, alcohol use call Wigan & Leigh Alcohol Services on 0800 3894463.

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