Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Alcohol Awareness Week – report underage sales

UNDERAGE sales of restricted items can now be reported anonymously online as Thurrock Council continues to address resident’s concerns around youth nuisance.

Anti-social Behaviour particularly committed by young people, is one of the top issues raised by the residents. It is often linked to underage drinking and the new online reporting form is being launched during national Alcohol Awareness Week (November 19 to 25).

Proxy sales – the sale to someone over the age of 18 for the supply of someone underage – is of particular concern and can also be reported online.

Thurrock Council Portfolio Holder for Public Protection Councillor Angie Gaywood said: “We carry out operations including test purchasing and work with Essex Police but we know that residents witness incidents. We are asking for the community’s help to tackle these issues – and for anyone concerned reporting can be done anonymously.”

Age restricted products don’t only include alcohol but also cigarettes, fireworks, knives, DVDs and video games. Reports can be made at www.thurrock.gov.uk/tradingstandards and click on underage sales.

In the run up to Alcohol Awareness Week Thurrock Community Safety Partnership hosted an Alcohol Awareness Workshop (on Wednesday November 14). The event was an opportunity to bring together those professionals coming into contact with people who may have problems with alcohol with the services who offer treatment. The aim is to increase referrals and ultimately raise numbers in treatment along with increasing success rates for those with an alcohol dependency in the borough.

Guest speakers at the event included Iain Armstrong NHS Alcohol Programme Manager, South who highlighted the key issues alcohol poses the health service and country as a whole:

Around 9 million people are drinking at levels which are above the NHS guidelines

Of these 2.2 million people (7% of men and 4% of women) are most at risk of illness and death from alcohol

And around 1.6 million have a possible dependence on alcohol

Alcohol harm costs the NHS about £3.5 billion per year

Alcohol-related crime £11 billion per year
Lost productivity due to alcohol about £7.3 billion
Iain then discussed the value of successful treatment:

The UK Alcohol Treatment Trial (UKATT) shows that, over a 6-month period, specialist treatment delivered savings of nearly £1,138 per dependent drinker treated and reduced hospital stays
Unlike some areas, Thurrock has a small dedicated alcohol treatment service and the numbers of clients in treatment has consistently increased throughout the year. There are currently 211 clients in structured treatment services and 60% of the alcohol clients successfully complete treatment.

Cllr Gaywood added: “We are aware that we have historically had issues with problematic alcohol use in Thurrock and although we are making progress in this challenging area there is still much work to do. The Alcohol Awareness Workshop was a good opportunity to bring together police, health, education, social care and many others to share knowledge and expertise and co-ordinate approaches to improving alcohol services in Thurrock.”


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