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Alcohol can be a major part of workplace culture, and yet it can also have a damaging effect on workplace productivity, safety, health and morale. Staff can be less efficient, and keep themselves less safe, with any amount of alcohol in their system.
Harmful drinking is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages. It is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion annually, while an estimated
595,000 adults in England are alcohol dependent and in need of specialist treatment.
At Alcohol Concern our mission is to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, and we do this by helping people with information, advice and support, and through funding research into alcohol-related harm. We also help professionals working with people with alcohol problems and campaign for a different drinking culture.
We run a couple of high-profile campaigns each year, designed to raise awareness of the issues caused by alcohol and to encourage people to seek support. We have run Dry January for the past five years, and we discovered that overall, 79 per cent of people who took part saved money; 62 per cent of people who took part experienced better sleep and had more energy, and 49 per cent of those who did Dry January lost weight.
We also run Alcohol Awareness Week every year, an annual campaign to raise awareness, and this year it runs from 13 – 19 November. The theme is Alcohol and Families, and we are running it in partnership with Adfam.
We’ll be using this opportunity to start a conversation around harmful drinking to help break the cycle of silence and stigma that is all too often experienced by families. We'll do this by sharing the stories of people affected by harmful drinking, as well as case studies of alcohol services doing great work around the country.
We will be signposting anyone affected by harmful drinking to the support they need. We’ll be sharing information, resources and stories throughout the week on Twitter and Facebook. People can also get involved by using the hashtag #AAW2017. We’ll have a number of online resources that will be free to download, including expert factsheets on various issues associated with alcohol and families; an easy to understand, visual depiction of the Chief Medical Officers' guidelines for low-risk drinking for print and social media use, and a bank of statistics.
We offer a range of training courses and events for private and public sector organisations to help promote alcohol awareness, both during Alcohol Awareness Week and throughout the year.
Visit www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/alcohol-awareness-week to find out more.
Dr Richard Piper is CEO of Alcohol Concern