Facing our Alcohol Problem – Taking Back our Health and High Streets

Alcohol Concern’s Jackie Ballard talks about our upcoming Annual Conference and the launch of Dry January 2015.

Alcohol misuse not only hands a hefty annual bill of £21 billion to UK taxpayers, it also has a huge detrimental impact on local communities. It has an impact on health and on front line health workers, on crime and disorder and on the look and feel of the high street. It affects older people as well as young people, families, children and social services.

At our annual conference on Wednesday 19 November, ‘Facing our Alcohol Problem – Taking Back our Health and High Streets’ there will be the chance to hear from leading experts on a broad range of topics including the NHS and alcohol misuse, alcohol advertising, older people and veterans, advocacy and behaviour change. We have a knowledgeable and interesting line up of guest speakers which includes Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director at NHS England, Norman Baker MP, Minister of State at the Home Office, Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and Allison Pearson, columnist for the Telegraph and Dry January 2014 participant.

The conference, which takes place during Alcohol Awareness Week (17 – 21 November) gives people the opportunity to hear about and discuss the key alcohol issues. We will also be launching Dry January 2015 and the University of Sussex, who have been researching the long term effects of Dry January on participants, will be at the conference to talk through their findings.

We already know that 81% of the 17,641 people who took part in Dry January 2014 said that, as a result, they would continue to reduce the amount they drink. Staying booze free for 31 days also helped them lose weight and sleep better, gave them more energy, saved them money, as well as giving people more confidence to turn down an alcoholic drink in social situations.

Dry January is not a fundraising stunt, it’s a really good vehicle for people to have a conversation about their drinking behaviour, to start to change that behaviour and help to reduce the personal and social cost of alcohol misuse.

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