Are you one of these people that says “I’m never drinking again” after a night out? Does your friend drink like a fish? Is a glass of wine an after-work essential? Is your other half an idiot when drunk? Most people love to drink but how much do we talk about it?
Next week is Alcohol Awareness Week (18-24 November) and Dudley Council and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group have launched an innovative campaign to get people talking about alcohol. Let’s Talk Drink aims to trigger conversations, highlight health harms, look at the positive benefits of drinking sensibly and inform people living and working in the Dudley borough about the health implications of alcohol and discuss their own habits.
A confessional ‘Booze Booth’ will be appearing in locations across Dudley, Halesowen and Stourbridge; inviting passers by to tell their best drink-related stories, admit to how much they drink each week and pledge to make a change. The Booze Booth will launch in Westfield Merryhill on Saturday 16 November, before moving to Lloyds Bar Stourbridge later that evening. It will then return to Merryhill on Sunday 17 November to encourage Sunday shoppers to talk about drink. The booth will start Alcohol Awareness Week at a Dudley workplace on Monday 18, and engage students and staff at Stourbridge College (Tuesday 19), Halesowen College (Wednesday 20) and Dudley College (Thursday 21). The tour will end at Tesco Stourbridge on Friday 22 November.
Dudley Council and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group want to ensure that everyone who drinks does so in a sensible and sociable way. With a number of high profile campaigns already in the area and across the UK, Let’s Talk Drink focuses on starting conversations among all types of drinkers. There is strong evidence that increasing conversations and challenging social norms can lead to healthier choices.
Councillor Stuart Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said that “The rate of premature alcohol mortality is higher in Dudley than the national average, and the area’s hospitals see and deal with the consequences of heavy drinking. We want people to talk about their own experiences so that they can reflect on the implications for them and make the changes they need to. That is the point of ‘Let’s Talk Drink’.”
Dr Liz Pope, Clinical Executive for Quality and Safety of the Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The idea behind this campaign is to start conversations about alcohol, in the hope that it brings the impact of their drinking habits on individuals, families and communities to light. This is really important because a lot of people don’t accept, or even realise, that they need help so Let’s Talk Drink is a chance to get everyone talking about alcohol in a positive but honest way.
“This campaign may also raise the opportunity to talk to a friend or family member, if you think they have a problem. The Booze Booths are a great way to get out into the community but we have also launched letstalkdrink.com where people can sign up, share their drink-fuelled stories, take a candid self-assessment and share ideas with others. The end goal is for everyone to make a realistic and measurable pledge to change their behaviour, for example by cutting their weekend consumption down or talking to a loved one about their drinking habits.”
Five types of drinkers* are recognised by the NHS; ranging from low risk drinkers who either don’t drink or have very low alcohol consumption, to harmful and hazardous users. The Let’s Talk Drink campaign wants to remove people’s perceptions about only alcoholics and binge drinkers being at risk, and instead look at those typical sayings people have relating to their own drinking.
Let’s Talk Drink is now live and people are invited to join the conversation both online at www.letstalkdrink.com and the travelling Booze Booth; look out for the campaign around the borough. However, if you have any queries or are concerned about a family member or friend and need some advice please contact the Dudley alcohol support service on 03000 280 180.