This week, Ceredigion County Council joins 2,000 other community groups to mark Alcohol Awareness Week, taking place between 11-17 November. Led by Alcohol Change UK, the campaign highlights the impact that alcohol can have on our bodies, our lives and those we love, and how by making changes to our drinking behaviour we can become healthier and reduce our risk for many serious health conditions including cancer, mental health problems and liver disease.

How many units are in a pint of beer or glass of wine? How long does it take your body to break down alcohol? And what does alcohol do when it reaches your brain? These are just some of the questions being explored for this year’s campaign – Find out the answers to these questions at:

During the week, there will be an information stand at the Council offices at Penmorfa, Aberaeron and Canolfan Rheidol in Aberystwyth where contact details for Community Connectors will be available.  

Community Connectors listen to residents with an eagerness to help find targeted solutions that meet the residents’ needs. You can read more about the work of the Community Connector’s Team Leader, Cyra Shimell in her ‘Day in my life’ article which is available now in the news section of the Council’s website.

Estimates show that 84% of people are unaware of the official low-risk drinking guidelines, meaning that the vast majority do not have the information they need to make informed choices about their drinking.
Please contact Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS) for all referrals into Dyfed's substance misuse treatment system. They can provide support, advice and guidance to anyone with a drug and/ or alcohol problem. They can also provide brief interventions, psychosocial interventions, mutual aid and peer support groups, outreach and more. Contact them on 01443 226864 or or contact Porth y Gymuned on 01545 574200.

Here’s a close look at some alcohol-related facts:

• Each year, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 24,000 people in the UK and is the biggest risk factor for deaths among 15-49 year olds
• Hospital admissions due to alcoholic liver disease in England have increased by 43% in the last 10 years.
• In England there are an estimated 589,101 dependent drinkers and less than 20% are receiving treatment.
• Around 200,000 children in England are living with an alcohol-dependent parent or carer which can have lifelong negative effects on their health and wellbeing.
• Each year alcohol misuse is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion and an estimated 167,000 years of working life are lost as a result of alcohol.

Donna Pritchard, Corporate Lead Officer Porth Ceredigion and Deputy Statutory Director for Social Services said: “Alcohol Awareness Week aims to get people thinking and talking about alcohol, to motivate change at every level – individual, community and national. The Council’s aim is to help spread this awareness and signpost residents to the right help and support that’s available here in Ceredigion. If you or someone close to you may be experiencing alcohol harm, please make the time to get the support needed, you can make the right choices.”

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “It can be easy to slip into bad habits with our drinking. But small changes can make a big difference to our health. Alcohol harm is avoidable and yet it still remains a factor in the death of three people every hour. This has to change. As well as the harm caused to individuals, alcohol can also have a significant adverse effect on those around us, including the 200,000 children in England who are living with an alcohol-dependent parent.

“So this year's Alcohol Awareness Week is all about helping people to better understand the risks of drinking and providing advice on how we can change our drinking behaviour for the better. This can be as simple as being sure to have a few drink-free days each week, deliberately choosing the lowest strength drinks, making every other drink a non-alcoholic one, or downloading an app, for example Try Dry, to track your drinking and keep you motivated.”