DESPITE having the highest proportion of non-drinkers in the North West, Blackburn with Darwen has one of the worst records for alcohol-related disease.
The stark facts were presented to the borough’s executive board as it toughened its strategy to combat the booze menace.
Public health director Dominic Harrison told senior councillors: “Alcohol-related harm is a major issue. Misuse of alcohol affects us all – individuals, families and community – impacting upon those in the disadvantaged areas the most.
“Public Health England identifies Blackburn with Darwen as having the highest proportion of non- drinkers in the North West at 22per cent, comp-ared with a regional average of 15per cent.
“Of particular concern is, despite the highest percentage of non-drinkers in the North West, and below national average consumption rates, the harm caused by alcohol is significantly high.
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“Blackburn with Darwen is ranked 30th worst out of 211 Clinical Comm-issioning Groups for all liver disease mortality in under-75s.
“Hospital admissions due to alcohol-related disease have risen over a 10-year period by 200per cent, over twice the rate of increase in the North West.”
New measures addressing growing alcohol consumption by ethnic min- ority young people; drinking among offenders, the homeless and carers; and encouraging abstention and helping moderate drinkers to avoid increas-ing consumption to danger levels were added to the existing strategy.
It includes promoting responsible retailing; better information; improved recovery and rehabilit-ation services; and lobbying for a Minimum Unit Price of 50p Council health spokesman Brian Taylor said: “We are taking a firm lead on tackling this. Measures include a hospital service that identifies people with alcohol dependence at risk of liver, or other alcohol-related disease and works to get them the help they need. We are doing more interventions with people who consume high levels, and whose alcohol intake may be increasing.”