Cheshire East amongst worst for alcohol misuse


Cheshire East is ranked 15th out of 324 local authorities for hazardous drinking which is measured by the percentage of the population who regularly exceed recommended weekly safe drinking limits.

Meanwhile, alcohol-related hospital admissions across the Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust (CECPCT) area are rising, reaching 9,700 in 2009/10, and treating alcohol-related problems costs each adult in Cheshire East the equivalent of a £80 per year - a figure forecast to rise to £100 by 2012/13 unless action is taken.

As a result, the Council has joined with health agencies and the Police to draw up an action plan to tackle the impact of excessive drinking both on individuals, their families and on the wider society.

They have launched the multi-agency Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy and pledged to work together to reduce alcohol-related crime, especially violent crime, and antisocial behaviour. They also aim to reduce the levels of chronic and acute ill health caused by alcohol, prevent alcohol-related harm to children and young people, raise awareness of sensible drinking levels and improve the management and planning of the night-time economy in all areas of Cheshire East.

Councillor Andrew Knowles, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, said: "Alcohol is enjoyed by many people in Cheshire East with few, if any, ill effects. But as these figures show, in certain sectors of our population, alcohol misuse is a serious and growing problem and we must get people to take ownership of their drinking habits. We have a responsibility to all residents of Cheshire East to work with our partners to minimise the damage that alcohol misuse has on our community.

"As well as its damaging effects on health and the enormous cost to the public purse, alcohol misuse has a destructive impact on society through crime, antisocial behaviour and family breakdown. The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy sets out how we plan to tackle these issues and we look forward to taking this forward with our partners."

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: "Excessive drinking is putting more pressure than ever before on Council, Police and health authority services in Cheshire East. Sadly, this is a trend mirrored nationally. Deaths from alcohol-related liver disease are rising while incidents of drink-fuelled crime and disorder are on the increase. The launch of this strategy sends out the strong message that we are committed to working with our partners to tackle problem drinking and its impact on our community."

The Government's recommended maximum weekly alcohol allowance is 21 units for men and 14 units for women.

Cheshire East ranks slightly better than the national average for binge drinking, which is defined as exceeding eight units per session for men and six units for women. The area rates similar to the national average for harmful drinking - the percentage of the population who exceed weekly safe drinking limits and have experienced health problems as a result. Cheshire East is placed 156th for binge drinking and 216th for harmful drinking.

Anti-Social Behaviour, Cheshire East Council, Primary Care Trust