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Alcohol problem in West Norfolk made clear through new research




West Norfolk has some of the worst problems in the country with alcohol, new analysis has revealed.

The borough is marked ‘red’ by Public Health England for the rate of alcohol-related road traffic accidents and alcohol-related hospital admissions.

The issue has been highlighted by alcohol and addiction advice service Port of Call, which carried out a study that showed how most people do not realise just how big a problem alcohol is.

Young people are more likely to think they’d be happy to date someone who had been through drug or alcohol rehab
Young people are more likely to think they’d be happy to date someone who had been through drug or alcohol rehab

It showed that only one in four people think alcohol is a bigger problem than illegal drugs.

Research from King’s College London said massive cuts to alcohol rehab services mean a “national epidemic” of alcohol-related problems is not being tackled.

Port of Call founder Martin Preston said: “Alcohol will always be a significant problem because it is so readily available.

West Norfolk has some of the worst problems in the country with alcohol
West Norfolk has some of the worst problems in the country with alcohol

“Alcoholism affects men, women, professionals – doctors, lawyers, police. There are no stereotypes. It’s everywhere and yet people don’t realise the level of damage caused by alcohol, both to individuals and society.

“We need to get better at supporting people to recognise when they have become dependent, to face it and to find the right help to regain control.”

West Norfolk sits well above the national benchmark rate for alcohol-related road traffic accidents, amongst the worst in England.

The benchmark rate is 26.4 per 1,000, while the rate in the borough is 40.3, Public Health Profiles show.

In regard to hospital admissions for alcohol related conditions the borough is also amongst the worst. It has 2,778 admissions per 100,000 population according to the ‘local alcohol profiles for England’.

Despite this, fewer than a third of people in the East of England think alcohol is the biggest problem substance in the UK now - and only one in four feel this nationally - according to a Port of Call survey.

Public Health England’s report ‘Adult substance misuse statistics from the National Drug Monitoring System’ found that 60 per cent of the 127,307 people getting treatment in 2017/18 had alcohol related issues.

The borough is marked ‘red’ by Public Health England
The borough is marked ‘red’ by Public Health England

Most recent figures on alcohol and drugs deaths in England show there were 5,843 alcohol specific deaths in England in 2017, compared to 2,503 deaths related to poisoning by drug misuse - less than half that of alcohol.

However, Norfolk’s drug death toll is also a concern. It too is in the worst range in the country according to Public Health England, with 5.5 deaths per 100,000 population.

Further Public Health England figures show Norfolk has the fifth highest rate of opiate and crack use in the East of England. Norfolk has a use rate of 8.16 per 1,000 population.

Southend-on-Sea, Peterborough, Bedford and Luton have higher rates whilst six other East of England areas have less users.

Port of Call polled 1,002 people in the UK for its recent Attitudes to Addiction report. Of 91 respondents in the East of England, 29 per cent thought alcohol was the biggest problem substance in the UK now.

Of all survey respondents, 25 per cent thought alcohol was the biggest problem substance and 56 per cent selected another named substances such as cocaine, cannabis or legal highs.

The Attitudes to Addiction report showed:

  • One in five people believe they’d be sacked if they admitted to an addiction
  • Men are more likely than women to say they would ‘definitely’ date someone who had been through drugs or alcohol rehab.
  • Young people are more likely to think they’d be happy to date someone who had been through drug or alcohol rehab
  • But 28 per cent of all respondents said they would not be prepared to get romantically involved with someone who had successfully completed alcohol rehab.
  • And 29 per cent of all respondents said they would not be prepared to get romantically involved with someone who had successfully completed drugs rehab.
  • Older people are most likely to think drugs are readily available in their area.

The full Port of Call study can be found at: Attitudes to Addiction.


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