A HEALTH warning about alcohol abuse has been given by a Rustington GP who is supporting the Sensible on Strength campaign.
Dr Matthew Taylor-Roberts, works at the Westcourt Medical Centre, in The Street, has seen first-hand the devastating damage alcohol abuse can inflict.
Dr Taylor-Roberts, who has been part of the team working on the Sensible on Strength scheme for several months, said Littlehampton had a ‘poor record for alcohol-related problems’.
“Used responsibly, alcohol can enhance social occasions and most of us see it as an ordinary and enjoyable part of life,” he said.
“As an NHS GP, however, I see the harm that alcohol overuse can do, and sadly the Littlehampton area has a poor record for alcohol-related problems.
“We see the consequences of street crime, domestic violence, accidents, and the diseases such as cancer, raised blood pressure, liver disease, anxiety and depression that can be associated with its overuse.
“I am, therefore, delighted to see a range of people from our community coming together to review and overhaul the services and systems we have locally to keep the vulnerable safer, and to help those who are either seeking support, or need active treatment.”
Dr Taylor-Roberts said the campaign aimed to address one part of the problem Littlehampton faced, which was the availability of the ‘cheapest and fastest source of intoxication’ – high-strength, low-cost booze.
He said: “Good evidence exists that reducing availability of these products – and providing support for those who use them – has a significant effect in reducing harm to all those who are affected by their use.
“While this initiative is very important, it is just part of a local discussion about what is desirable, healthy, or ‘normal’.
“My hope is that the engagement of retailers, the availability of screening and advice in general practices; the resources available through our Arun Well-being service – as well as the specialist services from the Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI) – will all contribute to an awareness of the risk of overuse, discussions in homes and schools, and personal reappraisals of our own use.”
He added: “The aim of the campaign is to be safe, happy, and healthy – and to continue to enjoy responsible alcohol use.”