A five-year plan on alcohol

RAISING awareness of the dangers of alcohol and promoting a safer drinking culture are part of a strategy to make the county healthier and safer.

The East Sussex Drug and Alcohol Action Team Board and the East Sussex Safer Communities Partnership have published a five-year strategy to address the issue of alcohol misuse by ensuring authorities share the responsibility and work together.

The East Sussex Alcohol Strategy 2014-2019 was drawn up following research into drinking habits, which included a public Drink Debate.

It sets out ways in which people can work towards changing the culture around alcohol.

The strategy focuses on three priorities, namely developing knowledge and awareness towards alcohol, providing early help, interventions and support for people affected by harmful drinking, and working with retailers and licensees to promote responsible drinking within the community.

Councillor Chris Dowling, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for community services, said: “We estimate that 23 per cent of adult drinkers in East Sussex are drinking at a level that is damaging their health.

“This isn’t just about those drinking to excess in our town centres, but also those who regularly drink more than the recommended limits at home.

“Drinking more than the recommended levels can increase the risk of a wide range of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, throat and stomach cancers, liver disease, obesity and dementia.

“The recommended limits for men, is three to four units a day and for women, two to three units. A large glass of wine or a pint of strong lager or beer, are each about three units. Working with our partners, we want to encourage a culture that people who drink to do so without harming their health and wellbeing.”

Last October, Hastings Borough Council, police and other partners launched the Reduce the Strength campaign last October as part of a clamp-down on street drinkers.

At the launch the council invited off-sales businesses from Central St Leonards, Castle and Old Hastings wards to take part in the scheme and voluntarily agree an amendment to their licence preventing the sale of low priced, heavy duty beers, lagers and ciders with an alcohol volume content of more than 6.5 per cent. Since October more than 31 off-licences have signed up, with more following suit.