Dry Medway

To be clear this isn’t intended as a nanny state piece by a teetotal snowflake trying to deliberately upset the right wing borderline alcoholics with personality disorder.

In the spirit of ‘Dry January‘ it’s an opportunity to look at Medway’s relationship with alcohol. Besides many advertiser paid newspaper studies are saying a dry month is not a good idea but rather a general cut back is better.

After all ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’ and ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.’

New weekly guidelines for people who drink regularly:
– Any level of drinking raised the risk of a range of illnesses.
– Women and men are advised to drink no more than 14 units per week.
-spread over 3 days or more.
– A good way is to have several alcohol free days, drink with food and alternate with water.

A cursory online search found pieces from 2015 if not a decade ago. So the issue if there ever was one may have passed.

And yet the Medway Joint Strategic Needs Assessment stated that:

Key issues and gaps

• Compared to the South East, Medway has high levels of hospital admissions for alcohol conditions and high levels of alcohol related mortality.
• Hospital admissions for alcohol related liver disease, mental and behavioural disorders and alcohol related conditions, are rising in Men.
• Males between 40 and 64 years are showing a rapid rise in alcohol related hospital admissions where an alcohol-specific illness is the main reason for admission.
• Females between 40 and 64 are also showing a growth in hospital admissions where an alcohol-specific illness is the main reason for admission.
• Overall mortality caused by deaths from alcohol-specific conditions for persons of all ages, is worse than the South East.
• There is a need for effective strategies to address alcohol misuse in hard to reach groups, such as the Eastern European community and the homeless.
• The provision of community rehabilitation and post treatment support needs to be improved.
• There is a need for improved mental health support for those in treatment.
• There is a need for a coherent and comprehensive approach to street drinking.
* There is an increasing trend in Medway for the rate of alcohol related cardiovascular disease.
* The overall trend for alcohol related liver disease admission episodes in Medway is increasing, and is high compared to the South East region.
* Admission episodes for mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol condition for males has been a sharp increase from 2014/15 to 2015/16. Medway now has worse rates when compared to the South East.
* Overall, alcohol specific mortality, which refers to deaths from alcohol-specific conditions for persons of all ages, has shown a steady downward trend in Medway from 2006/08 to 2014/16. However, the rate of male specific mortality is greater than the rest of the South East region.
* While the rate for mortality in males from chronic liver disease in Medway decreased between 2013/15 and 2014/16, it is still significantly greater than the South East region.

Alcohol consumption

The proportion of drinkers in Medway who can be categorised as engaging in increasing risk and higher risk drinking or possible dependence is 26.6%. 16.3% of drinkers consume alcohol on more than 4 or more days a week. 15.5% of drinkers binge drink.

JSNA Recommendations:

A Health Impact Assessment should be conducted to identify remaining or new gaps.

Should Medway go dry in January?
Should Medway cut back to a nice drink with a good meal?
Should it carry on, as if nothing is wrong, and it’s best not to talk about it?

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