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    1 in 6 adults who drink are planning to go alcohol-free this January – and 1 in 3 would prefer to take part in Dry January®

    ACUKA new survey by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January®, shows that one in six (18%) adults who drink alcohol are planning to have a month off drinking for January 2022. And for those planning to take a break from drinking, around one in three (30%) would prefer to take part in the Dry January® campaign by using the tools and resources provided by Alcohol Change UK, rather than trying to give up alcohol on their own in January.

    In 2020, 1,915 adults in Tameside were admitted as an emergency to hospital for an alcohol specific condition. Over the last 3 years the numbers admitted to hospital were 5,630.  Rising numbers of admissions show how much of a risk to health drinking alcohol causes to people’s lives as well as putting pressure on health services in Tameside at this time.

    NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Tameside Council (TMBC) are encouraging people in Tameside and Glossop to download Alcohol Change UK’s free app, Try Dry®, and take part in Dry January® to double their chances of having a successful alcohol-free month.

    Research has consistently shown that many people are drinking more heavily due to the additional stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new research shows that almost three in 10 drinkers (28%) have found themselves drinking more in 2021, compared to 2020. Around one in six drinkers (17%) feel concerned about the amount they have been drinking since the removal of COVID-19 restrictions in the summer.
    A quarter (25%) would like to reduce the amount they drink in 2022 and research shows that Dry January® is an effective and lasting way to cut down. Research by the University of Sussex published in 20202 found that those who take part in Dry January® via Alcohol Change UK’s free Try Dry® app and/or free email coaching programme are twice as likely to have a completely alcohol-free month, compared to those who try to avoid alcohol in January on their own, and have significantly improved wellbeing and healthier drinking six months later.
    The CCG and TMBC are encouraging people in Tameside and Glossop to take part in Dry January® via the free app, Try Dry®, to get benefits like more energy, saving money and losing weight, and to help them drink more healthily year-round.
    Councillor Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, said: “There is also support available locally from My Recovery Tameside, provided by Change, Grow, Live plc. (CGL).  They offer information and advice if you’re concerned about your drinking and aren’t sure what steps to take. They have an adult service, young person’s service (Branching Out – up to 17 years), transition service for people aged 18-25 years and a family/friends advice and support service. 
    “Their service provides a single point of contact for all residents and professionals.  Telephone: 0161 672 9420 or visit their website at: https://www.changegrowlive.org/advice-info/alcohol-drugs
    “If you’re pregnant and worried about your alcohol use and are finding it difficult to stop drinking alcohol, talk to your GP or midwife for advice and support.  In addition to the support on offer for Dry January, it’s also important to remember that there's no safe time and no safe amount to drink during pregnancy. Drymester has lots of useful information and resources to help parents-to-be to go alcohol free or support a loved one when pregnant or planning a pregnancy. For details visit https://www.drymester.org.uk/
    “You can find a list of support services to help you cut down or stop drinking alcohol on Tameside Council’s website at: https://www.tameside.gov.uk/substanceproblems.”
    Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said:  “We know that things are feeling uncertain at the moment and lots of us will be looking for ways to try to cope. As the pandemic continues to take its toll, research consistently shows that, for many people who were already drinking heavily, our drinking habits may have taken a turn for the worse.
    “With many of us experiencing heightened levels of stress, it’s hardly surprising that some of us might be drinking more without realising.
    “The good news is that being in control of our drinking can improve our overall health and wellbeing. And that’s where Dry January® comes in. It offers the opportunity for a total reset. 31 days to try something new. Sleep better and have more energy, improve your mental health and concentration, look fabulous and get brighter skin, save money and feel an amazing sense of achievement.
    “What’s more, over 70% of people who do Dry January® continue to drink less six months later – so it’s an investment in your health and happiness year-round.
    “Dry January® isn’t about giving something up. It’s about getting something back. Get your fun back. Get your calm back. Get your energy back. Get your you back.”
    Karen Stott, Communications Officer, NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group. Email: karen.stott2@nhs.net
    For interview requests and briefings from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January®, please contact: Julie Symes, Interim Director of Communications, Alcohol Change UK
    E: julie.symes@alcoholchange.org.uk
    Notes to editors
    Alcohol withdrawal warning
    Stopping drinking suddenly can be very dangerous, and can even kill you, if you are dependent on alcohol. If, after a period of drinking, you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be dependent on alcohol and you should NOT suddenly stop drinking completely:
    • seizures (fits)
    • hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
    • sweating
    • seeing things that are not real (visual hallucinations)
    • depression
    • anxiety
    • difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
    But you can still take control of your drinking. Speak to a GP who will be able to get help for you to reduce your drinking safely.
    References and notes from release
    1The survey was carried out online by Opinium between 30 November and 3 December 2021. Total sample size was 2,001 UK adults, of whom 1,414 said they were drinkers. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
    The figure of 7.9 million was calculated as 15% of total population aged 18+ in the UK (52,890,044 – reference: ONS, Mid-year Population Estimates 2020 for all adults in the UK aged 18+).
    2 de Visser, R. and Nicholls, J. (2020) Temporary abstinence during Dry January: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy, Psychology & Health, 35:11, 1293-1305
    The charity behind Dry January®
    Alcohol Change UK works for a world free from alcohol harm. We fund, commission and share research; provide information and advice; work to ensure more and better support and treatment; encourage better policy and regulation; shift drinking cultures through our campaigns; and work to change drinking behaviours. Find out more.
    How to do Dry January®
    Download the free Try Dry® via the App Store or Google Play. Via the app you will be able to receive optional daily coaching emails. You can sign up for just the emails at dryjanuary.org.uk.
    The app allows people to track their units, calories and money saved not drinking, plus set personalised goals and earn badges year-round.
    People who take part in Dry January®, whether online or via the free app, are twice as likely to spend the whole the month alcohol-free, despite being heavier drinkers to start with (de Visser and Nicholls 2020).
    Year-round healthier drinking
    People who take on Dry January® drink more riskily than the general population (asfin measured by AUDIT-C, a tool developed by the World Health Organisation). Yet six months after the challenge ends their average drinking risk score has decreased dramatically – in contrast to people who do not take on Dry January®, whose risk scores remain similar.
    • Drinking days per week dropped on average from 4.3 to 3.3;
    • Units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1;
    • Frequency of drunkenness fell on average from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month.
    Reference: de Visser, R. and Nicholls, J. (2020) Temporary abstinence during Dry January: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy, Psychology & Health, 35:11, 1293-1305
    Physical health
    Research published in 2018, conducted by the Royal Free Hospital and published in the British Medical journal, found that a month off alcohol: 
    • Lowers blood pressure 
    • Lowers cholesterol 
    • Reduces diabetes risk 
    • Reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood 
    Reference: Mehta G, Macdonald S, Cronberg A, et al. Short-term abstinence from alcohol and changes in cardiovascular risk factors, liver function tests and cancer-related growth factors: a prospective observational study BMJ Open 2018;8:e020673. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020673