December 18, 2015
The 18th of December (the last Friday before Christmas) is typically one of the heaviest drinking days of the year, dubbed ‘the black Friday of booze’, as the Christmas party season reaches its peak with an influx of revellers in pubs, bars and restaurants creating high demand across the emergency services.
The council is encouraging its staff and members of the public to sign up to this year’s Dry January campaign and to take a month off the booze. This year’s campaign will focus on the month of January being a key time to cut back on the amount of alcohol people consume. Dry January aims to promote the benefits of taking a month off alcohol, which include: weight loss, improved sleep, saving money, a sense of achievement and improved energy levels. The campaign will also communicate that taking a break from alcohol for a month will act as a reset, meaning you are more likely to drink less long term, and will position Alcohol Concern’s Dry January programme as one option for participation in a month of abstinence.
In 2012-13 alcohol-related healthcare costs in Cumbria were an estimated £27.5m, equating to £66 per adult.
In the same year there were an estimated 90,571 alcohol-related hospital admissions and attendances in Cumbria. The county has slightly larger estimated amounts of women who consume more than 3 units of alcohol per day (Cumbria 30.1% vs. UK 28.8%) and men who consume more than 4 units of alcohol per day (Cumbria 42.4% vs. UK 41.4%).
Local data and national evidence suggests that the 55-74 year-old age group is the most at risk of alcohol related harm, with Cumbrian men more likely to drink more than the average recommended number of units per day and be admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol misuse. Women living in rural areas of Cumbria are more likely to consume more than 3 units of alcohol per day.
Nationally, over two million drinkers participated in Dry January in 2015 and tens of thousands signed up online, two-thirds of participants were successful at going the whole month dry last year.
· 85% of people reported a great sense of achievement after completing a month off alcohol.
· 81% of people saved money after completing a month off alcohol.
· 71% of people reported improved energy levels after completing a month off alcohol.
· 70% of people reported weight loss after completing a month off alcohol.
· 63% of people reported better sleep after completing a month off alcohol.
Cllr Ian Stewart, the county council’s Cabinet member for Public Health, said:
“In the run up to Christmas many people start drinking more than usual as they celebrate the festive season with parties and get-togethers.
“January is therefore the perfect time for those that might over indulge to sign up to a break from the booze. Dry January is not about never drinking again, it’s just a great opportunity for people to reflect on their drinking patterns and to give their body a break from alcohol after the festive period.
“We know from previous years that people who do Dry January will feel better, lose weight and save money.”
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:
“Last January, over two million adults participated in Dry January nationally, so why not get involved.
“Many of us will soon set out our New Year’s resolutions, why not make this your first. It’s something you can do with your family, friends and colleagues.
“Taking a whole month off alcohol is a great way to look after your health.”