Croydon aims to slash £6m alcohol misuse bill with online test to show drinkers how much they overindulge

Alcohol related diseases cost Croydon almost £6million – nearly double the London average – the council is backing a new online test to help people reign in their drinking by revealing just how much is too much.

The DontBottleItUp survey asks drinkers questions to work reveal just how much they drink, warn them of the risks of excessive drinking and offer support to those who overindulge.

Alongside the advice the website also explains some of the side effects of drinking, such as the blend of compounds that give wine fans the distinctively painful hangover.

Councillor Louisa Woodley, Croydon cabinet member for people and communities, said: “Alcohol misuse is England’s third biggest risk factor for illness and death.

“Regularly exceeding the recommended limits is linked to health problems including some cancers, high blood pressure, liver damage and heart disease, as well as an increased risk of injury.”

The site allows users to take the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, which was developed by the World Health Organization as a simple way to identify people who have risky or excessive drinking habits.

Alongside the survey the site offers advice on how to recognise the signs of excessive drinking and alcohol dependency, and shows the different factors that can affect tolerance and consumption of alcohol.

One of the concerns raised by Mrs Woodley was that people don’t know their limits and that alcohol abuse negatively impacts all areas of society.

The average spend per person in costs relating to alcohol misuse is £73 in Croydon, 7% higher than the London average of £68.

Croydon council are keen to promote a sensible drinking culture, they have also trialled a scheme to breathalyse club-goers on the door of nightclubs and pubs to refuse entry to those over the limit.

When SW Londoner surveyed publicans and pub-goers, the reaction to that scheme was mixed, with drinkers branding it ‘ridiculous’.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show a very strong connection between alcohol consumption and violence, showing that 62% of male victims of violence cite alcohol as a factor.

The most recent figures for Croydon the rates of hospital admissions related to alcohol are 76,750 over the last year with a total cost of £5,991,000 markedly higher than the London average of £3,409,000.

Picture courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski, with thanks

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