New strategy to tackle alcohol abuse in Blackpool

Although average levels of alcohol consumption in the resort are in line with national figures, more residents end up in hospital due to excessive alcohol consumption.

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In a report to the council’s Adult Health and Social Care Oversight Committee, Director of Public Health Dr Arif Rajpura warns: “Residents of Blackpool experience greater alcohol-related harm in the form of addiction, hospital admissions and deaths.

Alcohol abuse leads to hospitalizations

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption in England has increased, particularly among heavier drinkers who are most at risk of harm from alcohol.

“Levels of rising and higher risk drinking in England have increased and not returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

Action to help Blackpool’s heaviest drinkers includes a Lower My Drinking app, restrictions on opening new unlicensed licenses in areas where there are already plenty of liquor stores and lobbying for a minimum pricing to control the sale of cheap alcohol.

The report says there were 1,740 alcohol-specific hospital admissions of Blackpool residents in 2020/21, around two-thirds of whom were male, more than double the average rate English.

Dr Arif Rajpura

Provisional data shows there were 48 deaths in Blackpool in 2021, entirely from alcohol, with an average of 43 such deaths per year over the past decade, with liver disease being the main cause .

Treatment services to help Blackpool residents break their alcohol addiction are provided by Horizon in conjunction with Delphi Medical and Renaissance.

The National Drug Treatment Monitoring Service (NDTMS) date shows that in 2020/21, 693 clients were seen in structured treatment in Blackpool with an alcohol problem.

Among them, 394 were receiving treatment only for alcohol, while 299 had a problem with alcohol and at least one other drug.

A new action plan is to be in place by December, which includes same-day walk-in assessment clinics for alcohol-only clients and more work to follow up on referrals who do not attend clinics.

There will also be better support for recovery through routine follow-up contacts three and six months after discharge from treatment.

A Horizon worker will also be placed alongside children’s services, and there will be community sites for clinics, including in Claremont.

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