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Drinkers shortening their lives

PUBLISHED: 13:30 02 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:00 05 July 2010

WOMEN in Waveney are drinking away around five months of their lives, according to shocking figures.

The figures, which have been published by the Northwest Public Health Observatory and commissioned by the Department of Health, show that women in the Yarmouth and Waveney are inflicting more harm on themselves than women in any other area in the region.

WOMEN in Waveney are drinking away around five months of their lives, according to shocking figures.

The figures, which have been published by the Northwest Public Health Observatory and commissioned by the Department of Health, show that women in the Yarmouth and Waveney are inflicting more harm on themselves than women in any other area in the region.

The report also said that men in Norwich were shortening their life expectancy by 11 months - more than anywhere else in all 48 districts of the eastern region, apart from Luton.

It is the first time such comprehensive figures have been available. They are designed to give a clear picture of harmful drinking, so the health service can understand the problems better and work to reduce them.

Penny McVeigh, chief executive of the Norcas drug and alcohol charity, which helps people across Norfolk and Suffolk, said: "These figures are quite stark and I think if people see them they will think 'That could be me'. I am not surprised - nationally, regionally and locally, people are drinking more, particularly women and young people."

Daniel Harry, from the Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: "The figures are an average, and clearly within that there are a very few people with serious problems who are dying much earlier from liver cirrhosis.

"Alcohol impacts on the vast majority of the population. Collectively, we need to look at why we are drinking as we are and question what we are going to do about it. Many people don't know the sensible drinking guidelines of two to three units a day for women and three to four for men. They should look on the sides of cans and bottles at how many units they are drinking."

Across the region there are fewer alcohol problems than the national average. Lyn Blizzard, health improvement principal at Yarmouth and Waveney PCT, said: "There are issues around deprivation and low self-esteem, which can lead to risky behaviour. We are also a seaside area, people are on holiday and let their hair down. But compared with the rest of the country, the problem is not that bad."

For free and confidential help and advice with alcohol problems, call Norcas on 01603 767093.


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