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Experts try to cut down on alcohol-related deaths
More advice is going to be offered to people across Wales who drink harmful amounts of alcohol.
A national initiative's being launched today to help reduce the number of booze related deaths per year.
Over 40 per cent of the Welsh population report drinking above the current health guidelines.
The National Alcohol Brief Intervention Programme gives guidance to staff working in oral or maxillofacial units, trauma clinics, social workers, midwives and other professionals or volunteers who are in regular contact with people who drink harmful amounts.
The programme helps them to offer support and advice to people drinking harmful amounts to enable them to reduce their drinking levels.
Each year 1000 deaths in Wales are due to alcohol and over 40 per cent of the Welsh population report drinking above the current health guidelines.
The main focus of the programme is a free training course which ensures that attendees understand the scale of the alcohol problem in Wales, recognise the triggers that may indicate that someone is drinking to a hazardous level and have the confidence and sensitivity to raise the issue and deliver an Alcohol Brief Intervention with a client, colleague or friend.
Alcohol is responsible for 2.3million early deaths around the world. It is linked to many health problems from mouth cancer to depression, with an estimated £80million spent treating alcohol-related problems every year by the NHS in Wales.
Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Public Health for Public Health Wales and public health lead for the programme, said: "The National Alcohol Brief Intervention Programme isn't about telling people not to drink at all. Alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a normal, healthy lifestyle.
"However, when people are drinking to the extent that it interferes with their health, job or private life then there is clearly a problem.
"As a society we can often find it difficult to talk about alcohol for fear of being labelled an alcoholic. This taboo can mean that people are suffering needlessly when those around them could be encouraging them to seek help or advice about the amount they drink.
"This training programme is easily accessible to people working or volunteering in all types of health and social care settings. The shortest training programme will take just 15 minutes, but even that could help a person to have a massive effect on an individual who is drinking too much.”
The UK Government recommends that men drink no more than 3-4 units per day and that women drink no more than 2-3 units per day.
However, it is recognised that there is confusion over what constitutes a unit – both among the general public and even some health and social care workers.
Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Professor at Cardiff University of the programme, said: "My role, as a professor of surgery who has led clinical trials of new, tailored brief advice designed to tackle alcohol abuse, is to implement the discoveries we have made in these trials into hospital services in Wales. I want to make sure that all injured people, when they have their stitches out, are motivated to drink sensibly."
Alcohol Brief Intervention training has already been offered to primary Care GPs and Practice Nurses in Wales.