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‘Take a look at your boozing’

People should take an honest look at their alcohol intake before they cross the line into addiction, the head of a Tayside alcohol dependency support group said today.

Catherine Lawson, chairwoman of the Tayside Alcohol Problem Service Clients’ Council, said it was vital for people to be aware of their personal drinking habits to ensure they’re not drinking to excess and moving towards addiction.

She told the Tele, “Unfortunately too much alcohol is just not good news, and there is a very fine line between drinking to excess and addiction.”

Ms Lawson’s comments coincide with Scotland’s Alcohol Awareness Week this week, which aims to encourage people to make positive choices about their drinking habits.

She continued, “If people are beginning to feel they need a drink, they have to stop and wonder why.

“Are they doing this because they need to relax or because they are trying to get through something? There is such a fine line between need and want and it is important that people are aware of it.”

Ms Lawson also claimed that promotional deals on booze in supermarkets and shops across the city often tempt many people to drink more than they intended.

She said, “Binge drinking is defined as drinking eight or more units in one session for a man and more than six for a woman. Eight large glasses of wine per week is 24 units of alcohol, ten more than the recommended amount for women. That shows how easy it is to drink to excess.” She added, “This week people should take an honest look at their drinking pattern just in case that invisible line is nearer than they thought.”

This year’s alcohol awareness campaign claims that by making a few simple changes to your drinking habits, you can manage the amount of alcohol you consume and make sure you get more out of your time, relationships, work and activities.

They are advising people to take five small steps to change the way they drink and make a difference to their long- term health.

These include eating before you drink, going for a smaller glass, keeping a diary of drinking habits, a break between drinking to allow your liver to recover and using soft drinks or water as ‘spacers’ between alcoholic drinks.

Ms Lawson said the TAPS Clients’ Council was behind the annual campaign, and encouraged people struggling with alcohol to get the support they need.

“We support the material found at alcoholawareness week.co.uk which aims at encouraging everyone to take five small steps to make sure the amount of alcohol consumed is within the healthy guidelines.

She added, “There is a lot of help out there for people who may have a dependency on alcohol — especially in Dundee, where there is a problem with alcohol misuse.

“Remember that the alcoholics you see, the people staggering, vomiting and fighting in the streets after closing time, those who are homeless and sleeping rough because they have lost everything through drink, those in prison through alcohol-related crime, those in A&E and in hospital — all of these people started out, as they thought, drinking responsibly,” she said.

A number of roadshows are being held in Fife to mark Alcohol Awareness Week.

From 11am until 2pm unless otherwise stated, tomorrow they’re at Asda, Kirkcaldy; on Friday at St Andrews University, and on Saturday at East Fife’s football ground in Lower Methil (3.30pm-4.15pm).

There was also one at Sainsbury’s, in Leven, today. The displays will cover alcohol units, responsible drinking, service provision from Drug and Alcohol Project Levenmouth, drink-driving, antisocial behaviour/violence and alcohol-related fires.

There will also be free non-alcoholic cocktails and a free prize draw.

Alcohol awareness week was launched in Perth today. Public sector agency partners including NHS Tayside, Perth and Kinross Council, Tayside Fire and Rescue and Tayside Police joined forces to support the launch, held at Sportsters.

Throughout this week, the bar and nightclub will be giving out free unit measuring cups to encourage customers to be more aware of how many units they consume.

During the week Scottish Grocers’ Federation members will be inviting MSPs into their stores. Among those was Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser, who called in at David Sands on Jeanfield Road in Perth. The store in Newport has already welcomed North East Fife MSP Iain Smith.

source: Evening Telegraph

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