A CAMPAIGN to tackle Kirklees’s spiralling alcohol misuse by adults and young people is to be launched next week.
The Alcohol Strategy aims to reduce the district’s growing drink problem through improved prevention, treatment and enforcement measures.
Kirklees ranks worse than the national average for harmful drinking, male deaths from chronic liver disease and alcohol-related recorded crime.
And the “Currently Living in Kirklees survey 2005” reported a dramatic increase in consumption with one in three men and one in four women drinking over sensible limits. This compares to one in six men and one in 12 women in 2001.
The Kirklees Young People’s Health Survey of 14-year-olds in 2005 also found 22%, almost a quarter started drinking at age nine or under.
It also reflected the national trend showing for the first time that girls were drinking as heavily as boys, and that 40% of young people binge drink.
Clr Khizar Iqbal, who chairs Kirklees Safer Stronger Communities Partnership, said: “Alcohol misuse wrecks the lives of individuals, their families and communities. This plan ensures agencies work together to improve their response to the problem, promote a responsible attitude to alcohol and minimise the harmful effects of excessive drinking so that Kirklees residents are safer and healthier.”
The plan is being launched by Kirklees Partnership, a forum where all public, private and voluntary sector organisations come together and co-ordinate resources to tackle the different issues facing communities, at the Textile Centre of Excellence, Red Doles Lane, on November 7.
Key priorities are increasing awareness of sensible drinking levels, especially among young people; reducing alcohol-related health problems, anti-social behaviour and crime; expanding treatment provision and access to it; and working with the licensing industry to maintain a thriving night-time economy.
Agencies delivering it include Kirklees Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Kirklees Primary Care Trust, Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Yorkshire Probation Service.
Accident and emergency figures for March 2005 also reveal that 29% of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary attendances and 14% at Dewsbury and District Hospital were alcohol-related.
This year, 55% of probation service pre-sentence reports in Dewsbury and 47% in Huddersfield identified alcohol as a factor in offending compared to 35% associated with drugs.
Tony Cooke, Senior Commissioning and Partnership Manager, Kirklees Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: “Alcohol misuse has a multitude of risks.
Heavy drinkers are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents, develop serious medical conditions earlier in life, suffer absence in the workplace, unemployment and housing problems.
“Excessive drinking is also a significant factor in child protection cases, teenage pregnancy, truancy, exclusion, offending and illegal drugs use.”
95% of educational establishments to deliver alcohol education to reduce consumption and hospital admissions among young people.
A reduction of 2,700 patients registered with Kirklees Primary Care Trust attending accident and emergency departments.
Earlier identification of people drinking excessively and a 25% increase in the numbers referred for alcohol misuse treatment.
Reducing binge drinking and alcohol-related crime and disorder.
Trading standards to respond to all complaints by the public and partner agencies about alcohol sales and under-age drinking.