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The impact alcohol can have and the positive changes people can make is being highlighted during this week’s Alcohol Awareness Week (11-17 November).

Wiltshire Council is once again supporting this national campaign, led by Alcohol Change UK, and it’s a chance for people to get thinking about drinking. This year the theme is ‘Alcohol and me’, and it’s a week of awareness-raising, campaigning for change, and more.

Understanding the risks of drinking too much is an important first step in helping people drink more healthily. Yet estimates show that 84 percent  of people are unaware of the official low-risk drinking guidelines, meaning that the vast majority do not have the information they need to make informed choices about their drinking.

A series of powerful Wiltshire Council-produced videos can be found on its YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrJBGaLNqeET9-TWEmRQ2kCguEI8Wzq6x.  The videos include the story of how a man turned is life around after alcohol had set it spiralling out of control.

Councillor Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: ‘Over-consumption of alcohol can not only cause health issues but also damage relationships with your loved ones. Some people might not even know they have a problem. All we ask is that people make a note of how much alcohol they drink in any given week – if you’re shocked by the amount then maybe it’s the right time to get some advice so that changes can be put in place before any issues get worse.

‘We have high-quality non-judgemental support in Wiltshire ready to help.’

Tracy Daszkiewicz, Wiltshire Council Director for Public Health said: ‘Most people consume alcohol safely, however many people are not clear on the safe number of units of alcohol are, or what a unit looks like. The way people use alcohol has change hugely over recent years, with alcohol becoming more widely available and cheaper. People drink more in the privacy of their own homes and the frequency that people drink has increased as a result.

‘Drinking too much or too frequently on both our physical and mental health, and anyone feeling they need support with drinking levels should seek help. We have a specialist service is Wiltshire, where confidential advice and support can be sought.

‘It’s challenging as alcohol is a huge part of British culture but in Public Health we see the devastation that can be caused by drinking too much, and we want to ensure people know what the effects of alcohol can be, how to notice the signs that it may be coming a problem and where to seek support.’

Both men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. 14 units is the equivalent to six pints of 4 percent beer, six medium glasses of 13 percent wine, or 14 single 25ml serves of spirits.

In Wiltshire If people think they need support they should contact Turning Point on 0345 6036993, or under 18s please contact Motiv8 on 0800 169 6136. People can also visit the Turning Point website at http://wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/swindon-and-wiltshire/Motiv8 is carrying out a series of alcohol awareness sessions throughout the week, including delivering a PHSE lesson at On Track Alternative Education on 11 and 13 November, presenting to Sheldon School on 13 November, hosting a stall at Chippenham College on 13 November, hosting information stalls at Salisbury College and Trowbridge Alabare on 14 November, and doing a Prince’s Trust presentation on 15 November.

People can also enroll with a Wiltshire Council Health Trainer for one-to-one support, to help people achieve their health-related goals. The Health Trainers will be carrying out alcohol awareness at their regular drop-in sessions throughout the week. People should visit http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-trainers for more information.

If people want to know more about their alcohol consumption then they can complete a short online survey which will provide advice and support depending on the results. It can be found at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-drug-and-alcohol

More information on Alcohol Awareness Week can be found at https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/alcohol-awareness-week

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