David Cameron backs Bolton safer drinking drive

8:38am Tuesday 21st February 2012

PRIME Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband have both backed The Bolton News Think Before You Drink campaign.

Mr Cameron praised the appeal, saying it had “an important role to play”, while Mr Miliband described it as “a great idea”.

The Bolton News has joined forces with health bosses, who are concerned about the amount people in Bolton are drink ing, to encourage people to be more aware about how much alcohol they are consuming.

More than 54,000 people in Bolton are drinking at “hazardous” levels, which is more than 21 units a week for men and 14 units a week for women, while more than 16,000 people are consuming “harmful” levels of alcohol, which is more than 50 units a week for men and more than 35 units a week for women.

Mr Cameron said: “Every night, in town centres like Bolton, hospitals and police stations have to cope with the consequences of alcohol abuse.

“And the problem is getting worse. Over the past decade, we have seen a frightening growth in the number of people — many under-age — who think it is acceptable for people to get drunk in public in ways that wreck lives, spread fear and increase crime.

“This is one of the scandals of our society and I am determined to deal with it.

“Across the country, local hospitals, ambulance crews and the police are rising to the challenge.

We must help them to do so and will be setting out how through the forthcoming Alcohol Strategy.

“Initiatives like The Bolton News’s Think Before You Drink campaign also have an important role to play in making people reconsider their drinking habits.”

Labour leader Mr Miliband, along with Shadow Health Secretary and Leigh MP Andy Burnham, both urged people to take notice of the campaign.

During a visit to the Royal Bolton Hospital, Mr Miliband said: “I am very supportive of this campaign It seems like a great idea and gives some important advice to drink in moderation. It is backed by health experts and I wish The Bolton News every success with it.”

Mr Burnham added: “This is a great idea. Most people enjoy a drink and this campaign strikes the right tone with its guidance about moderation and having a few days without alcohol. I wish it well.”

The Think Before You Drink campaign is urging people to reduce the amount they drink, by even a small amount, which will lead to dramatic health improvements.

Figures for the past five years show alcohol related problems are of a greater significance in Bolton and mortality rates are said to be worse than the England average.

Dr Liversedge, a leading Bolton doctor, said the borough has particular problems with increasing numbers of women dying of alcohol-related. He said: “For the vast majority of people, it is never too late to reduce the amount of drinking or modify their drinking and feeling better as a result. Improvements can occur very quickly.

“The message I try and give out as a GP is to have at least two or three alcohol free days. Alcohol free days can make a huge difference.

“The message about smoking has always been unequivocal that any amount of smoking is harmful.

This is not true for drinking with sensible limits.

“There is absolutely nothing to prevent people from leading a healthy life as long as there is drinking within moderation and enjoying it within sensible limits.”

People are also urged to have a couple of alcohol-free days every week.

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