Bristol’s Big Drink Debate, a city-wide survey examining the public’s attitudes to alcohol, is launching at the start of Alcohol Awareness Week, on Monday 14 November.
Throughout the winter months the council’s Public Health team will be asking questions which get to the heart of why and how people drink, in a bid to understand individuals’ experiences of alcohol within the city. In Bristol it is estimated that 84% of people over 16 drink alcohol and over 20% of those risk long-term harm to their health. The city has a high level of alcohol related hospital admissions and deaths compared to the England average.
The survey responses will be used to shape how alcohol misuse is tackled in Bristol in line with a new Alcohol Strategy (2016 – 2022) which has been developed alongside partner organisations including the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group and Avon and Somerset Police.
“Alcohol plays an important part in our society and economy, but for some people and communities it has become the norm to drink well above the recommended levels. This means that the harm alcohol can cause is often being ignored, so we need to look at how we can redress the balance and identify what more can be done.
“People drink for different reasons and it’s a complex issue that gets people talking. With Bristol’s Big Drink Debate we want to open up a conversation to understand what people think about alcohol in our city, including why and where people drink. We need your views to help shape a safe and sensible drinking culture in Bristol.”
- Councillor Fi Hance, Cabinet Member for Public Health
To launch the Big Drink Debate a pop-up event is taking place on College Green today where passers-by will be given special scratch cards and can take part in interactive games to test their knowledge about alcohol. The survey will be available online from today and hard copies will be available at locations across the city, including in bars and pubs.
"Bristol’s Big Drink Debate isn’t about telling people what to do or how to behave. People drink for different reasons so we’re trying to canvas opinions to work out how we can reduce health problems for the population and improve community safety. As outlined in my recent annual report, drinking too much is a major cause of early preventable death and if we don’t act then liver disease has the potential to become the UK’s bigger killer within a generation. There is a common misconception that only binge drinking causes harm, but many people are regularly consuming too much alcohol without realising the long-term damage it can cause.
"We need to get people talking and thinking about this so we’re going to be asking some controversial questions during the Big Drink Debate. Don’t be afraid to have your say."
-Becky Pollard, Director of Public Health
New guidelines released by the chief medical officer at the start of the year highlighted that there is no safe drinking level, but to minimise health risks it is advisable to drink no more than 14 units per week.
Bristol’s Big Drink Debate is being launched following an alcohol summit which took place last year and bought together key partner organisations from across the city. The survey will be available from 14 November until 30 January. Visit www.bristol.gov.uk/bristolsbigdrinkdebate to have your say. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following @bccpublichealth and using the hashtag #Bristoldrinkdebate.
If you need help or advice about drinking alcohol there are many organisations that can help. Speak to your GP, search Alcohol Concern or contact ROADS, a local support service in Bristol.