Safeguarding Generations from Alcohol Harm
The Big Alcohol Conversation is asking all residents and businesses to help explore the scale and nature of alcohol harm in Greater Manchester and the actions we can all take together to help reduce it.
But this is one part of an even bigger piece of work – the development of the first ever co-ordinated drugs and alcohol strategy for Greater Manchester.
As well as having your say in the Big Alcohol Conversation, you can also help set the city-region’s wider ambition to reduce the risk and harms caused by both drugs and alcohol . The consultation is open until midnight on Sunday 13 January at gmconsult.org.
The Big Alcohol Conversation and planning of the drug and alcohol strategy for Greater Manchester come as it’s revealed that drugs and alcohol kill more people in Greater Manchester compared to the national average.
Official figures show that there were almost a staggering 1,200 deaths caused directly by alcohol between 2015 and 2017, with the overall cost of alcohol to Greater Manchester sitting at an estimated £1.3 billion per year – this is the equivalent of £500 per resident.
Meanwhile, drug-related deaths have increased by 74% across Greater Manchester over the last decade. Street drugs are now reportedly stronger than ever before, and there are many new psychotic substances which have been developed, meaning drugs have changed entirely and therefore creates more challenges for Manchester’s public services.
To inform the development of a drug and alcohol strategy for Greater Manchester, communities are being asked to give their views on some emerging key themes, such as reducing the number of deaths and hospital admissions caused by drugs and alcohol, helping more people into recovery and reducing strains on the public services.
A plan has been drafted and shaped by authorities, health services, voluntary services and people who have been affected by drug and alcohol misuse. It focuses on six priority areas:
- Prevention and early intervention
- Reducing drug and alcohol related harm
- Building recovery in communities
- Reducing drug and alcohol related crime and disorder
- Managing availability and accessibility
- Establishing diverse, vibrant and safe night time economies
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes said: “Reducing the impact of alcohol and drug use on our communities is the responsibility of us all. This is a complex issue that can’t be solved by one organisation alone. It causes immense problems for many families, blights many communities and puts a great strain on all our public services. We need to do things differently and that is the ambition of this strategy.
“It’s important that we shape this strategy together to make sure we can protect future generations from drug and alcohol harm, encourage people to make informed choices and keep themselves safe, and build resilient communities where individuals who have drug and alcohol problems can recover and live fulfilling lives. So please get involved and have your say on how we tackle this issue.”
Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The Big Alcohol Conversation is highlighting how substance misuse is causing a range of harms to our residents and communities and putting huge pressure on our health services. For example, 22,000 people were admitted to hospital with alcohol-specific illnesses in 2016/17, at a cost of £43m. It is an issue we cannot ignore.
“We are harnessing the power of devolution to reduce these impacts. But we don’t have all the answers. Only by working closely with communities can we tackle these challenges head on and help transform the health, wealth and wellbeing of people across Greater Manchester.”
Want to know more?
You can read more about the possible ways of reducing alcohol harm in Greater Manchester here.
Now have your say
Share your views through the drug and alcohol strategy consultation at gmconsult.org (by Sunday 13 January 2019) and the Big Alcohol Conversation survey below (before the end of February).