Still a lot to do to educate people about drink danger

THE NEWS COMMENT: The CQC report is grim reading – QA must work hard to improve

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It’s true to say that Portsmouth has long had a reputation as a hard-drinking city.

Not all that long ago there really was a pub on every corner of densely-populated Portsea Island and alcohol played a big part in the culture.

From sailors coming home after months at sea to dockyard workers quenching their thirst after a hard day’s labour, alcohol has traditionally been in this predominantly working-class city’s DNA.

But now it seems that the long-term consequences of excessive drinking are being exposed.

It’s shocking to discover that only Liverpool and Manchester have worse records for alcohol-related deaths than Portsmouth.

We report today how statistics released by Public Health England show that 23 people out of every 100,000 in the city died specifically because of alcohol between 2011 to 2013.

On top of that, admissions to hospitals because of alcohol are the second highest in the south east – 528 out of every 100,000.

So why is this?

Well, people could be dying now as a result of drinking too much back in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

But the worry is that binge drinking is not only in the past, but is still part of life in the city today.

The city still has pockets of social deprivation and it is often in such areas that alcohol is used the most.

Then there is the worrying national trend of women drinking more.

There is a big job to do in educating people about the dangers of alcohol addiction and the huge health and social problems it can cause.

City leaders need to work with the government and local agencies to get across the message that people could literally be dying for a drink.

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