The council’s public health team has been encouraging more people to make use of free online DrinkCoach resources during Alcohol Awareness Week (11-17 November), as statistics show 24% of the county’s adults drink at levels which put them at increased risk of harm.
West Sussex County Council has partnered with DrinkCoach to offer anyone who lives or works in the county free access to the variety of information and support, which include a quick, anonymous alcohol test.
The online test takes around two minutes and is a great way for anyone to check whether their alcohol consumption is putting their health at risk.
The uptake of free DrinkCoach alcohol support across the county has increased by 55% in the space of a year. Between 1 January and 31 October this year, 2,863 people in West Sussex completed the DrinkCoach alcohol test. This compares to 1,846 who took the test during the same period in 2018.
DrinkCoach also offers free sessions with trained and experienced alcohol coaches to help change drinking habits, whether you want to cut down a bit or give up for good. These are available to anyone aged 18 or older, who lives or works in West Sussex. Sessions are held, in complete confidence, via Skype, and are available at evenings and weekends, as well as during the working week.
There is also a free DrinkCoach app which helps people to track and change their drinking.
Anna Raleigh, Director of Public Health at West Sussex County Council, said: “People who might consider themselves only social drinkers could actually be consuming potentially harmful amounts of alcohol.
“I’m pleased to see such a positive uptake of DrinkCoach in West Sussex so far, and I’d encourage even more to take advantage of the support and information available. Making relatively small changes to drinking habits can result in big improvements to your health.”
Visit www.drinkcoach.org.uk to take the alcohol test and enter the code WSWELL to book the Skype sessions free of charge.
Figures from Local Alcohol Profiles for England showed 24% of people aged 18 and above in West Sussex reported to drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week. Fourteen units is the equivalent of six pints of average-strength beer (4% ABV) or six medium glasses (175ml) of wine (13% ABV) wine.
The NHS advises men and women against drinking more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.