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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Cumbria signs up to tackle alcohol-related deaths

Health and Wellbeing leaders in Cumbria have signed up to a new strategy to tackle the damaging effects of alcohol that claims the lives of 125 Cumbrians each year.

The alcohol strategy reveals some hard-hitting alcohol-related statistics for the county, including that seven per cent of all premature deaths are as a result of alcohol, and that the peak age for alcohol-related deaths for men and women is 55 to 59.

Figures in the new strategy show that Cumbria is worse than the English local authority average in a number of significant areas, such as:

  • Hospital admissions for men in Barrow, Carlisle, and Copeland.
  • Hospital admissions for women in Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, and Copeland.
  • Admission episodes for alcohol-attributable conditions in Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, and Copeland.
  • Hospital admissions in under-18s in Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, and Copeland.
  • Deaths from chronic liver disease and alcohol-related conditions in Barrow.
  • Alcohol-related violent crimes in Barrow and Carlisle.

The strategy that the Cumbria Health and Wellbeing Board (HWBB) has signed up to has at its heart a commitment to challenge attitudes to drinking - especially binge drinking - and reduce availability of cheap alcohol and maximise enforcement.

It will also make sure children, young people and parents are prioritised when it comes to changing attitudes and behaviours.

The strategy for the county has four main priorities, they are:

  • To reduce harm to health.
  • To reduce alcohol related-crime, anti-social behaviour (ASB) and improve community safety.
  • Protect children and young people.
  • Reduce economic and social harms.

Patricia Bell, chair of the HWBB and the county council's cabinet member for public health and communities, said: "As well as the catastrophic effect alcohol abuse has on some parts of our communities, it's estimated that £200million is spent tackling alcohol abuse in Cumbria every year. Clearly reducing the impact of alcohol abuse has to be a key objective for every public body in the county.

"The board will ensure all agencies work together to reduce the impact of alcohol on children and families, and tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder."

The Cumbria Health and Wellbeing Board includes representatives from the NHS, district councils, Cumbria Association of Local Councils, the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, the third sector, Healthwatch Cumbria and the county council.

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