Drink and Drugs News DDN March 2020 | Page 5

DDN EVERY DAY All the news, updated daily www.drinkanddrugsnews.com News Alcohol-related hospital admissions up 20 per cent in a decade A lcohol was the main reason for almost 360,000 hospital admissions in 2018-19, according to figures from NHS Digital – a 6 per cent increase on the previous year and 19 per cent up from a decade ago. The figures are based on the narrow measure of instances where an alcohol-related disease, condition or injury was the primary reason for admission. Using a wider measure that includes conditions that could be caused by alcohol the number rises to 1.3m admissions, 8 per cent up on the previous year. Alcohol-related primary hospital admissions accounted for 2 per cent of all admissions, with more than 40 per cent of patients aged between 45 and 64. More than 60 per cent of the admissions were men. Last year saw 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths, which is 2 per cent down on the previous year. The Alcohol Health Alliance, meanwhile, is urging the government to increase alcohol duty in this month’s budget to fund ‘thousands of new jobs’ in health and public services. The alliance is calling for an increase of 2 per cent above inflation – recent cuts in duty have cost the Treasury more than £1bn per year, it says, enough to fund the salaries of 40,000 nurses. ‘Alcohol is 64 per cent cheaper than it was thirty years ago, and its availability at these prices is encouraging more of us to drink at unhealthy levels,’ said alliance chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore. ‘In order to protect the future health of our society, the government must take action now by increasing duty on alcohol and investing that money into our over-stretched and underfunded NHS and public services.’ Statistics on alcohol, England 2020 at digital.nhs.uk Alcohol Health Alliance letter to the chancellor at ahauk.org/letter-to-the- chancellor Loneliness pushing The right questions people towards ALMOST 90 PER CENT OF PEOPLE accessing Phoenix alcohol Futures’ services have More than a third MORE THAN ONE IN TEN PEOPLE who experience loneliness are turning to alcohol to cope, according to you a YouGov survey commissioned by Turning Point. Around 30 per cent of Britons feel lonely ‘all, often or some of the time’, the poll found – 35 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men – with people aged 40 and above most likely to drink to cope with their isolation. ‘It’s worrying that so many feel lonely, and some are turning to alcohol for comfort,’ said Turning Point’s head of psychology Jan Larkin. ‘More commitment is needed from the government to addressing the issue.’ Meanwhile, provisional estimates from the Department for Transport (DfT) show a 4 per cent increase in drink-drive accidents for 2018. Almost 6,000 incidents involved at least one driver who was over the alcohol limit, resulting in around 240 deaths –13 per cent of all road accident fatalities. Reported road casualties in Great Britain: provisional estimates involving illegal alcohol levels 2018 at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ department-for-transport WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM suffered a traumatic life event and more than a third have experienced sexual abuse, according to the organisation’s latest Footprints survey. More than half have been homeless, 15 per cent were in the care system as a child and 70 per cent have been to A&E in the last year. Almost half, meanwhile, had found it ‘difficult or very difficult’ to find residential rehab information and funding, with 30 per cent of residents in one service having to attend a panel in an unfamiliar location in order to access funding. ‘Every two years at Phoenix we ask the people who use our services the questions other people probably haven’t asked them,’ the charity says – ‘questions that give us an understanding of the life lived before a person comes to us’. Locally designed processes are ‘onerous and stigmatising and deter people from getting the help available’ it adds. ‘This creates a perception of “lack of demand” which impacts national and local policy decisions.’ Survey findings at www.phoenix-futures.org.uk of people accessing Phoenix Futures’ services have experienced sexual abuse. Local News ASPIRE TO LEARN Doncaster-based Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service has joined forces with the universities of Sheffield and North Carolina on a two- year behavioural activation study on substance use and depression. ‘Being involved in this type of research puts us at the forefront of trialling new treatment interventions and patterns of care for people who use our services in the future,’ said service manager Stuart Green. GET THE EDGE The winner of this year’s Outside Edge Theatre Company competition for scripts about addiction will receive a £6,000 commission and mentoring from playwright Edna Walsh, the company has announced. Entries are invited from 16 March, with full details at edgetc.org and at the DDN Conference, which will feature a performance from the group. HIV HELP Change Grow Live is leading a new HIV partnership project in London to boost testing and help more people stay on treatment. ‘HIV infection has a huge impact on vulnerable people including those with substance misuse problems,’ said director Gaby Price. ‘This partnership is an excellent opportunity to promote collaboration across the HIV and substance misuse sectors.’ MARCH 2020 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 5