Local residents are being encouraged to think about their drinking habits during Alcohol Awareness Week, which is taking place between 17th and 23rd November.
Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Public Health team and Drug and Alcohol Service will launch a local campaign with a ‘Jog the Journey’ event on 17th November.
Cllr Simon Allen, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, will join a team of 20 alcohol and health workers on a jog around Bath, visiting some of the places where people with alcohol problems may seek help.
They will be wearing branded ‘Jog the Journey’ T-shirts and handing out scratch cards that will help to show people how much they drink, and how much is too much.
The team will start from St James’s Surgery then visit the ambulance station at Bathwick to highlight that some people may end up in A&E with an alcohol-related health problem.
They will then call into the Beehive on Walcot Street, which provides alcohol support services, before making their way down to the Council’s One Stop Shop and finishing at Job Centre Plus.
The last leg represents making positive strides along the road to recovery by gaining employment and housing.
The week will also see alcohol-awareness stands giving out free mocktails at supermarkets in Bath, Midsomer Norton, and Keynsham.
A team of volunteers will also be visiting Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Keynsham and Bath handing out scratch cards and alcohol calculators.
There will also be activities at The Beehive and alcohol education sessions in local schools.
Look out for the scratch cards at local GPs, pharmacists, sports centres, bars and clubs.
Cllr Allen said: “The week aims to inspire people to talk about the health risks, stigmas and taboos associated with alcohol. The scratch cards will offer people a realistic picture of how much they are drinking, and whether they need to cut down to improve their health.
“The card is a novel and quick way to check your alcohol units – but the main message here is that there are serious health problems linked to drinking too much.”
The campaign is being supported by NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.
Its Clinical Chairman, Dr Ian Orpen, said: “Alcohol Awareness Week is the perfect time to draw the public’s attention to the health risks of drinking too much; you don’t have to be drinking huge amounts in order to cause damage.
“I’m delighted that the Jog the Journey team will be starting from my practice, St James’s Surgey, as the GP is often the first port of call for people who may be concerned about their drinking.”
Dr Mark Farrant, a senior Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist at the RUH, added: “The nation has an alcohol problem and is in denial about it.
“I used to be surprised when I diagnosed end-stage alcohol-related liver disease in a young person in their thirties with a young family – it’s so frequent now that I am no longer surprised.
“If this awareness-raising campaign stops one person getting cirrhosis or one person getting involved in domestic violence or one person ending up in hospital after a road traffic accident, I will be delighted.”