Do you know how much alcohol is too much?
The NHS in Norfolk is pledging its support to the national Know Your Limits alcohol campaign, being launched today.
It is estimated that more than 35,000 people in Norfolk have a mild, moderate or severe alcohol dependency and among the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption are unsafe sex, unplanned pregnancies, higher chance of accidents and aggressive behaviour.
In 2006-07 approximately 43% of reported violent offences committed in Norfolk were alcohol-related. Nationally, NHS admissions for alcohol-related illness are rising fast year-on-year.
Jocelyn Pike, NHS Norfolks Lead Commissioner for Substance Misuse, said NHS Norfolk was putting its full support behind the campaign to raise public awareness on safe levels of drinking.
Heavy drinking, especially on a regular basis, can lead to a variety of serious and even life-threatening health problems such as cirrhosis or cancer of the liver, stomach disorders or even sexual difficulties.
NHS Norfolk has recognised the need for addition provision of services and will be announcing extra investment in the near future, she said.
Daniel Harry, Partnership Liaison Officer Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) said: In general, alcohol misuse in Norfolk is at or below the national average. There is, however, a significant proportion of the Norfolk population being adversely affected, either directly or indirectly, by alcohol misuse.
Alcohol is part of every day life. Responsible production and sales of alcohol generates a significant income for the county and sensible use of alcohol helps people relax, socialise and enjoy themselves. When alcohol is misused, however, it can have far reaching consequences.
Daniel explained that NHS guidelines recommend a maximum of 3-4 units of alcohol per day for men and 2-3 units for women. A small glass (175ml) of wine (12% ABV) or an ordinary strength pint of beer (3.5%) is around 2 units.
Counting units is difficult but not impossible. Check the sides of bottles and cans as the majority will say how many units there are in the drink. Or try counting the calories. Alcohol has a high calorific value: a 175ml glass of white wine has 130 calories; a pint of a 4% ABV beer or lager has 170 calories; and a 25ml shot of tequila has 160 calories.
Or try counting cash. A big night out can cost anywhere up to £60.
Anyone who has concerns about their alcohol or drug use can contact their local treatment provider or GP. Further details on how to do this are on the DAAT website at www.nordat.org.uk Alternatively people can call the Matthew Project 24/7 helpline on 0800 764 754.
For more information about the Know Your Limits campaign, please visit: http://www.knowyourlimits.gov.uk/