Alcohol Awareness Week 2024

Understanding alcohol harm this Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Awareness Week (1-7 July), the annual campaign organised by Alcohol Change UK, aims to raise awareness of the problems associated with alcohol misuse, promoting a healthier, more balanced approach to alcohol consumption.

Every year, over 5,000 community groups including public health teams, pharmacies, GP surgeries, hospitals, charities, and workplaces sign up to take part in Alcohol Awareness Week, using resources supplied by Alcohol Change UK. 

However, anyone can get involved in the week, including individuals and organisations of all sizes.

The theme for this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week is ‘Understanding alcohol harm’; shining a light on the way in which alcohol is harming our health and wellbeing.

The importance of Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol abuse remains a significant public health concern. According to ONS data, 9,641 deaths from alcohol-specific causes were registered in the UK in 2021 alone – the highest number on record.

Additionally, and consistent with previous years, alcohol-related deaths among men were around double those of women, with Scotland and Northern Ireland having the highest rates of alcohol-specific deaths.

National campaigns such as Alcohol Awareness Week play a fundamental role in educating the public on the risks of alcohol misuse, and promoting discussion around excess alcohol consumption, with the hope that people will reconsider their drinking habits.  

The week also provides an opportunity for those affected by alcohol misuse to seek help via support networks.

Short- and long-term effects of alcohol abuse    

For campaigns like Alcohol Awareness Week to make an impact, it helps for people to understand the short- and long-term effects of alcohol on the body and mind.

This understanding plays a significant part in encouraging people to rethink their drinking habits, and empowering individuals to seek support for alcohol addiction.

Some of the short-term effects and risks of excess alcohol consumption (e.g. binge-drinking) include:

  • Impaired judgement and coordination – alcohol affects the central nervous system, causing impaired judgement and slower reaction times
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning – this occurs when a person drinks large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time, and can be life-threatening

Long-term effects of sustained alcohol misuse can include:

  • Liver disease – such as fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Cardiovascular problems – high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, and an increased risk of heart disease and strokes
  • Mental health issues – including depression and anxiety. Alcohol use can also make pre-existing mental health conditions worse
  • Cancer – there is a well-established link between alcohol consumption and various cancers including mouth, throat, liver, breast and colon cancer

How can I reduce my alcohol intake?

There are many helpful resources available online for people who want to reduce their alcohol intake.

The NHS recommends that men and women consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread across three or more days for people who regularly drink as much as 14 units per week.

You can also use this helpful calculator from Alcohol Change UK to monitor your alcohol consumption (number of units per drink).

Other ways you can reduce your alcohol intake, include:

  • Teaming up with a friend to take a break from drinking
  • Finding alcohol-free ways to enjoy yourself such as taking up a new hobby
  • Keeping track of your drinking, making a note of how much you drink throughout the week, and setting goals for yourself
  • Recognising situations where you tend to drink more and making alternative arrangements when you want to cut down your alcohol consumption

Please be aware that if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, reducing your alcohol intake without medical advice might not be right for you.

For this reason, it is recommended that you speak to your GP, who will be able provide advice on safely reducing your alcohol intake.

Alcohol testing you can trust

We have over 20 years’ experience providing alcohol testing for peace of mind, legal and official matters, and businesses.

Our UKAS 17025-accredited laboratory is equipped to test a variety of samples for alcohol consumption including hair, nails, blood, and breath. We also offer alcohol monitoring using the SCRAM CAM® bracelet.

We have also raised tens of thousands of pounds in vital funds via our Giving Back campaign for regional and national alcohol support services, including Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs (SFAD) and The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa).

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For more information or to request a quote for an alcohol test, call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.

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