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New alcohol strategy for Blackburn with Darwen to tackle booze misuse
HEALTH and council bosses are preparing a new alcohol strategy for Blackburn with Darwen to cut the £68million annual cost of booze misuse to the borough.
They want to boost responsible retailing, tackle under age drinking, improve rehabilitation services and lobby for a 50 pence minimum unit price.
The new drive is being masterminded by borough public health director Dominic Harrison under the orders of council leader Kate Hollern.
It has prompted by new figures showing Blackburn with Darwen with the sixth worst male and the 11th worst female life expectancy in the country for which a key factor is excessive booze consumption.
They calculate the annual cost to public services as £68million from violent crime, anti-social behaviour and ill health, including 4,475 hospital stays last year.
The statistics show worse than national average male death rates directly attributable to alcohol, higher than average rates for male and female hospital admissions because of booze and worse than the English average rates for alcohol-related violent and non-violent crimes.
The strategy being developed by a special borough alcohol prevention action group including the council, emergency services, health and voluntary sectors includes:
- Promoting responsible retailing covering pricing, premises licensing, and underage sales;
- Better information on alcohol and health;
- Improved recovery and rehabilitation services;
- Advice on drinking for young people; and
- Community involvement in decisions on licensing.
The council Labour group plans to sign the borough council up to the national campaign for a Minimum Unit Price of 50 pence.
Borough public health director Dominic Harrison said: “High levels of alcohol consumption is rapidly becoming one of our single biggest preventable causes of disease and early death.
“Unsafe and dangerous levels of alcohol consumption are driven by increased availability and lower cost. Blackburn with Darwen has many outlets selling bargain and discounted alcohol.”
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