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Cornwall's Alcohol Deaths Revealed

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8:02am 19th October 2014

Dying for a drink: It is revealed more than 250 people in Cornwall are dying every year because of booze.

Most of those losing their lives to alcohol-related conditions are men.

Emily Robinson speaks for Alcohol Concern: "It's not just up to the individuals to drink less. We think that there is something that the government can be doing, for example by introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol. That would really target the cheap, strong booze that we know does so much damage in terms of people's health.

"We've been calling for all the parties to commit to minimum unit pricing which we believe would make a huge difference to the strain on the NHS by alcohol-related health problems. We know that minimum unit pricing is a policy that will save lives and save thousands, if not millions of pounds."

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg has called the human cost 'staggering'.

He wants us all to look seriously at how much we are drinking: "I am afraid we live in a society where people are less willing to take responsibility for their own actions and their impact on others and now it is clearly time for everyone in the south west to take responsibility for their own use of alcohol.

"For many months I have spoken about the horrendous harm caused by the misuse of alcohol and these figures illustrate, in the starkest possible light, the staggering human cost, 314,000 alcohol related hospital admissions and 758 people dead - through drink, in a single year are simply not acceptable.

"These avoidable demands are being met by the public at large; the costs of caring for and the harm caused by drunks is being paid for by many who never drink in anything other than moderation.

"So on most evenings our casualty units are full of drunken men and women injured through fighting, after falling down drunk or being beaten by a drunken partner at home.

"The excessive burden on the police, the ambulance service, on doctors and nurses has to change.

"If tax-payers want the police to protect their homes and their children they cannot be expected to spend time clearing up the mess left from drunken binges.

"In a recent Devon and Cornwall Police tweetathon, to highlight the demands alcohol places on policing every Friday and Saturday night,  the Force received over 60 calls an hour; that is one every minute. We have to find a way to change this.

"These new health figures highlight the massive cost of treating people who end up in hospital because their drinking is causing long term harm and requires expensive medical treatment to prolong their lives.

"They also expose the myth that harmful drinking only affects a few very heavy drinkers. One in five people are drinking at levels that may affect their health and the cost implications of this for the health service and for the wider economy are shown to be enormous.

"I believe the public wants to know nurses and doctors are caring for people who are hit by serious diseases through no fault of their own, looking after the elderly, and treating cancer and mental health patients- not spending time and enormous resources treating those who get sick because of they cannot control the urge to drink.

"My call to everyone is to look at how much they drink.

"Does your drinking put yourself or others at risk? Does your drinking set a bad example to those who might look to you for example?

"We cannot expect our public services, be they the police or the health service to continue to meet these increasing but avoidable demands.

"What we can and should expect to do is help people to deal with their misuse of alcohol receive and support them in their recovery. This is essential, not only for the individual with dependency issues, but for all of society; to reduce the continuing rise in demand for public services from alcohol.

"We must also continue to pressure national government to address the glaring shortfalls in national alcohol policy.

"If we continue to tamper at the edges of alcohol harm we risk losing the ability to care and protect our elderly, our vulnerable and those who need our help through no fault of their own."

8:02am 19th October 2014

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