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1,000 Claim Benefits for Alcohol Addiction

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3:51pm 21st November 2011
(Updated 3:51pm 21st November 2011)

The number of people claiming benefits in Cornwall and Devon because of drinking is being revealed.

It is claimed more than a thousand on incapacity say alcoholism is their main medical reason.

That is above average for England and is being linked to unemployment and deprivation.

Andy Brooking is a substance misuse nurse at Treliske. He said, "Most of the stuff that comes through the emergency department could be the violent assaults or even domestic violence. But it does range from things that happen because you are intoxicated to things that happen because of your alcohol use, which may be long term."

Jez Bayes gave this statement on behalf of the Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Action Team:

"In terms of people claiming incapacity benefit for alcohol issues, the south-west average is 115 per 100'000 people and the Cornwall average is 117 per 100'000, which means that Cornwall is pretty much in line with the regional average.

"In this recession, with the risk of a rise in unemployment, there is the likelihood that alcohol issues may increase.

"In order to identify and help people earlier, we have started a training scheme for frontline staff working outside of the healthcare system, in order to provide the right interventions for alcohol problems as early as possible. We are training staff who normally deal with such issues as unemployment, debt, domestic abuse and other offences. Most of the patients going into treatment in Cornwall's alcohol healthcare system are aged 35 or above, with fairly embedded alcohol problems. We will help people better and more effectively if we identify them earlier in the development of their alcohol problems".

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3:51pm 21st November 2011

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