Blog. News Crackdown on drug dealing Jo Grimshaw, Woking Police: We’re in Mayberry Estate today in Princess Gardens, which was subject to quite high-level drug dealing a year ago, and we used operation guardian as a tool to deal with the antisocial behaviour and the drug dealing. John Bradshaw, local resident: Well, the problem was that the guy who was dealing drugs attracted a constant flow, day and night, of people coming to buy drugs.
You’d find syringes, ampoules, the occasional drunk. You know, general threatening loud behaviour, knock on your door: ‘Can I borrow your phone?’, ‘Have you got any spare change?’. I mean, all that sort of stuff. Jo Grimshaw: The residents and the community had come forward with intelligence and therefore we were able to actually – as well as doing the warrant – was to close down the property under section 1 of the Antisocial Behaviour Act and therefore cut the supply straight away from this property. James Brokenshire, crime reduction minister: What’s it like now? Resident: Oh, great! James Brokenshire: Good, good, well, I’m really pleased to hear that. James Brokenshire: Residents were really in fear and intimidation, because of drugs, drug dealing and some abusive behaviour that was happening.
That’s why I’m really pleased to hear about how local communities, coming together, in partnership, being focused on problem-solving can make a real difference, can really change people’s lives. Kevin Deanus, detective chief superintendent, Surry Police: Well, the Tilley awards is a – sort of – an award that everybody is aware of. We’re very proud to have been put forward and actually to be short-listed, so we’re very proud as an organisation. You know, ‘Guardian’ is about the community, it’s not about the proactive police work, it’s actually about what their life is. So for me, for them to be – you know – short-listed is an absolute honour for them, because actually it’s made their lives better, so I’m really really delighted for them. James Brokenshire:
The Tilley awards is really important to recognise problem-solving and good community action, bringing together residents with those partners – the police, local authorities, other agencies – who can really make a difference on these sorts of things. So it’s nice to be able to come out and celebrate success, to really learn from positive experience and recognise where good work has made an impact, just simply on statistics. It’s about people’s lives that we’re talking about here and how today here in Woking I’ve heard that people’s lives have been changed and that’s what we need to be focused on.
Blog post – Parents ‘should not give small amounts of alcohol to breed responsible drinking’
Parents should not give children alcohol in the hope that it will breed a responsible attitude to drinking, Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, has warned. Exposure to alcohol at a young age is actually more likely to make them heavy or binge drinkers, he said. Parents with a “laissez-faire” attitude to their teenager’s drinking are also putting their offspring at risk, he warned, as he called for a culture shift from the image of the drinker as a hero.
Sir Liam made his comments as he launched new guidelines on children’s drinking for parents, in which he called for youngsters to have an alcohol-free childhood.Children under the age of 15 should not drink any alcohol at all, the report advises. Older teenagers between 15 and 17 should be supervised by their parents if they are drinking, and should limit alcohol intake to one day a week. Parents can set an good example by drink any alcohol at home only in a “positive” setting, such as a family meal, according to the guidelines.
Sir Liam said that the notion that introducing children to small amounts of alcohol at a young age would teach them to drink responsibly had become a “middle class obsession” in recent years. “(That) if you somehow wean children on to alcohol at an early age they won’t have any problems in later life, (that) they will be sensible – is not supported by evidence,” he said. “It’s a bit of a middle-class obsession – the idea of taking out the wine bottle and diluting it. “There’s not a great problem to that as such but to extrapolate from that sort of situation that alcohol in general is a good thing just does not work.” He added: “Alcohol has a ruinous effect on the foundations of adult life. “We see the tyranny of alcohol on our towns and city centres.
“Too often childhood is robbed of its clear-eyed innocence and replaced with the befuddled futility that comes with the consumption of dirt cheap alcohol.” Evidence shows that children who are introduced to alcohol at a young age are more likely to binge drink as teenagers and to develop alcohol-related problems in later life. Official figures show that half a million 11 to 15 year olds in England admit they have been drunk in the last month. And every year around 7,600 11 to 17-year-olds are admitted to hospital because of alcohol. Sir Liam warned that there was evidence that alcohol harmed children’s’ developing brains.
Drinking can lead to depression, subtle brain damage, long-term memory problems, difficulty remembering words and mental health problems, he said. Physical problems include damage to the liver, reduced levels of growth hormones and a lower bone density in boys. In recent years doctors have warned that a binge-drinking culture is leading to young women in their twenties being diagnosed with alcohol-related conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, unheard of a decade ago. Sir Liam insisted that his report was merely advice and that there were no plans to change the law.
At the moment parents are legally allowed to give children alcohol in their own home from the age of five. Sir Liam also reiterated his calls for a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as he said that to there was no doubt that Britain had a “drink problem”. However, he admitted that there was not one single measure alone that could turn the tide on Britain’s growing alcohol problem.
In January, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCFS) will launch a campaign warning of the dangers of drinking among children and young people. Don Shenker, the chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “Drinking among young people is a major concern for parents, many of whom have previously had no clear guidance on how to approach what can be a sensitive issue. “The guidelines will especially help parents who want to establish clear boundaries with their children and clarify that drinking above these guidelines carries increased health risks. “However, there are many more factors that influence young people’s drinking than just what their parents say. “The easy availability of alcohol at pocket money prices is far more important, and the government should consider getting tough on cheap sales to help tackle underage drinking”.
Blog post – Children drinking more than adult safe levels, official figures show
Children as young as 11 are drinking two bottles of wine a week – more than the recommended limit for an adult women – official figures reveal. Children in the north of the country drink and smoke more than those in the south, data from the NHS Information Centre has found. In particular, girls aged between 11 and 15 in the Midlands and the North are drinking more than the recommended limits for adult women. They are consuming around a bottle and a half of wine a week. Adult women are advised not to drink more than two to three units a day (or up to 14 units a week) and men not more than three to four (or up to 21 units a week) with two alcohol free days a week.
Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, said last year that parents should not let their children drink alcohol at all. More than one in four girls in the North East had a drink in the past week and on average consumed 15.5 units. Girls in the East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire and Humber drank similar amounts. The pattern was less clear for boys but in general those in the Midlands and the North were more likely to have drunk in the last week than those in the south and to have consumed more. More than one in four boys in the North East had a drink in the last week and on average drank 20.2 units, the equivalent of eight and a half pints of strong lager or more than two bottles of wine.
Boys and girls in London were the least likely to drink and average consumption of those who did was also lower. The data, based on surveys of over 23,000 children in England, showed boys drank more than girls in almost all regions. It is the first time that alcohol consumption for children aged 11 to 15 has been calculated by region. Previous studies have shown that fewer children are drinking alcohol but those who do consume large amounts. On smoking children in the north of the country were more likely to have smoked a cigarette in the last year than those in the south and were more likely to smoke regularly.
Children in all of the regions were less likely to have tried drugs than cigarettes or alcohol. A fifth of 11 to 15 year olds in the North West had taken drugs in the last year compared with around one in seven in the South West. One in eight children in the North West said they had taken cannabis in the last year compared with one in 12 in the North East. Tim Straughan, Chief executive of The NHS Information Centre, said: “The report shows there are significant regional differences in the percentages of young people who smoke, drink or use drugs.
“It is interesting to note that London has such comparatively low levels of drink, drug and alcohol use among its 11 to 15-year-olds. “In contrast, youngsters in the North East are more likely than their peers anywhere else in the country to smoke and drink alcohol. However, they are the least likely to take cannabis.” Don Shenker, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “Today’s figures are very worrying. We’ve seeing a slight decline in the number of children who drink, but those who do drink are drinking much more.
“Too many young people are now drinking at or above safe adult levels, yet their bodies are less able to cope with the harm alcohol can cause. “We’ve already seen an almost one thousand per cent increase in liver cirrhosis deaths in the 25-44 age group. This is impacting our health services and the lives of families across the UK.”He said the government must heed advice and opt for minimum pricing of alcohol which would mean it could not be bought at pocket money prices.
Professor Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Chairman of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance said:“These figures indicate that for many young teenagers drinking has moved beyond experimentation and into far more dangerous territory. “Regular consumption at these levels, especially when compressed into heavy sessions at the weekend puts boys and girls at considerable risk. “At this age the adolescent mind is still developing, and for an unlucky minority heavy drinking so early will have profound and long lasting implications for their learning and problem solving skills.
Tougher penalties for those found to be selling alcohol to youngsters are welcome, but parents and families also have a responsibility to help their offspring make healthy choices.” Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo said: “I am pleased that these statistics show a decline in the number of young people smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
“The Government has been committed to providing young people with the right advice and support they need to make safe and sensible decisions. Importantly we have given parents, carers and schools additional guidance and expert advice so that young people can turn to a trusted adult to discuss their concerns about smoking, drinking and drugs.”
Blog post – Professional women ‘more likely to be heavy drinker than those in other jobs’
Professional women are more likely to be heavy drinkers than those in other jobs, experts have warned. Women in managerial and professional occupations were more likely to drink too much and too often, indulging at least once a week, they found. Researchers warn that as ‘ladette’ culture is on the wane there should be a new focus on career women, in particular those who drink large amounts at home.
Doctors are increasingly concerned about professional women who drink too much alcohol, especially wine. Higher strength wines and larger glasses in recent years mean that many underestimate their alcohol intake, they warn. Drink related deaths among women have doubled in the last 16 years, official figures show, while cases of cirrhosis of the liver are starting to seen in women in their twenties, unheard of just a few decades ago.
The new warning comes on the busiest night of the year for Christmas parties, when millions are predicted to overindulge across the country. The research analysed evidence of women’s drinking patterns in Britain and Denmark. While there has been a fall in binge drinking in pubs and clubs, other forms of drinking are on the increase, they warn.
These include professional women drinking large amounts at home, from a young age until well into their middle years,The review of research also found that women who work full-time were also more likely to drink heavily and binge on alcohol than those with part-time jobs. The more they earned the more likely women were to drink frequently. Single women were also more likely to drink heavily than those in relationships. Dr Fiona Measham, from Lancaster University, one of the co-authors of the report, said: “Young women’s drinking has been a focus of concern during the last decade.
“Yet whilst national figures suggest that young women’s binge drinking may be falling, these changes have not been generally acknowledged in recent years. “Previously the debate on problem drinking has very much focussed on the public spectacle of the young woman binge drinking – the work-hard play-hard ‘ladette’ stumbling round city centres with clothes askew, the doubly deviant figure of drunkenness in a dress.
“Current alcohol trends challenge some of these enduring stereotypes of problem drinking and lead us to question why we are so eager to demonise young people yet so reluctant to recognise that drinking trends can go down as well as up.
“This research, for example, highlights the ‘hidden harms’ of increasingly frequent drinking in the home by professional women from early adulthood into middle age.” The findings were published in the journal Probation Journal. Earlier this year a study warned that female office juniors, who did typical jobs such as photocopying, delivering mail and data entry, were almost twice as likely to die from drinking too much than the rest of the population.
Blog post – One in five admissions to hospital casualty departments because of alcohol
More than one in five admissions to hospital casualty departments are because of alcohol, a new report suggests. Excessive drinking is putting the health service under “immense strain” and the cost of treating alcohol-related ilnesses is “unsustainable”, experts have warned. In a joint report the Royal College of Physicians and the NHS Confederation, which represents hospital trusts, called for a rethink in public opinion on alcohol and warned that doctors alone could not solve the problem.
“The nation’s growing addiction to alcohol is putting an immense strain on health services, especially in hospitals,” said Prof Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians. “This burden is no longer sustainable. “We know that the NHS is facing very lean financial times in the coming years. “It is time to start looking more closely at prevention and at factors like price and availability.”
The number of people admitted to hospital because of alcohol is approaching a million a year, a rise of 47 per cent in just five years, official figures show.The new report highlights the strain that treating alcohol-related illnesses injuries places on hospitals, especially accident and emergency units. An audit carried out for the report by St James’s University Hospital, in Leeds, found that 21.8 per cent of all casualty admissions were because of alcohol. Earlier this year a similar study by St Mary’s Hospital in London estimated that on a Saturday night that figure could rise to as much as 70 per cent of admissions.
Even if drinkers dramatically reduce their intake the costs of treating the ill-health created will still affect the NHS for the next 10 years, according to the report. It calls for better identification and treatment of people with alcohol problems, estimating such moves could save the NHS as many as 1,000 bed days a year per hospital. Currently only 1 in 18 people addicted to alcohol receive treatment.
Steve Barnett, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that the NHS could do its bit but warned that “a reappraisal of social attitudes to drinking is also well overdue.” He added: “We hope this report helps to outline the scale of the problems facing the NHS and acts as a warning that if we carry on drinking in the way that we are currently, the bar bill will be paid in worse health and a health system struggling to cope.”
Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said: “The human and financial cost of alcohol abuse in Britain is greater than most other European countries. “We cannot afford to go on like this.” A spokesman for the Department of Health said that the Government was “working harder than ever” to reduce the number of alcohol related hospital admissions. More than 10 million people in England alone are thought to be drinking at “hazardous” levels, which experts warn could be affecting their health.
Blog post – NSH iPhone app to alert drinkers when they go over their limits ‘encouraging bingeing’
An official NMS iPhone application designed to alert revellers when they go over their limits is actually encouraging binge drinking, users claimed. The “app”, which measures drinks in alcoholic units, has sparked something of a craze among drinkers to get the highest score. The NHS drinks tracker was launched at the start of December and is designed to help people avoid overindulging.
It works by converting drinks into units to show drinkers when they have gone over the recommended daily limit. But within days of the tracker being released it was being described on the internet as an “awesome game” and users were boasting about trying to beat their “top score”. The converter is not the first time that iPhone applications have caused controversy. One app had to be taken off sale when it emerged that it encouraged users to quieten a screaming baby by shaking it.The free tracker allows users to enter how many drinks they have had and what kind.
The amount they have consumed in units is then shown by blue bars on a bar chart. A horizontal line shows drinkers when they have gone over their daily recommended limit of two to three units for women and three to four units for men. Ministers insist that the application is useful because many people struggle to realise how many units they have drunk. By tapping a button users can also get feedback on how much they are drinking, including health warnings. The app is part of the Government’s £9m Know Your Limits marketing campaign to encourage responsible drinking.
But one review on the iTunes website, from where the tracker can be downloaded and reviewed, gave the app five stars and claimed it was an “awesome game”. “This is the best game ever,” it continued. “Gonna try and outdo last night’s score on Friday night.” Another user wrote: “I love this app. Been using it a week now and my blue bars are half way up the scale most days. “This week I intend to fill all the bars every day. “I filled in last night’s booze intake and my iPhone automatically dialled Alcoholics Anonymous. Lol (laugh out loud).”
One user, who called himself Sheepstarr, even suggested an online scoreboard, where strangers could compete to drink the most. He wrote: “Great app, just wondering what people’s top scores are? “Also could there be an online league table or something so you can submit them.” Don Shenker, from Alcohol Concern, said: “There will always be some people who use these things irresponsibly and they need to be made aware of the very serious health and other consequences of their binge drinking. “At the moment users of the tracker fill in how much they drink before they are given the health information – perhaps that needs to be the other way around.”
A Department of Health spokesman said that they preferred to “focus on the positives” of the application. He said: “The tracker helps people to keep tabs on their Christmas drinking, wherever they are. “By monitoring alcohol intake and drinking less, you stay in control and avoid risky situations.” A study released last week, and based on sales data, estimated that the average drinker in Britain was underestimating their alcohol consumption by the equivalent of around a bottle of wine a week.