REGULAR drinkers who are putting their health at risk have been helped by a new alcohol and wellbeing service.
The pilot project, run by Adur and Worthing Councils’ wellbeing service, was launched in April.
To date, 27 people have been referred by their GPs, with 12 of them now benefiting from one-to-one support.
The other 15 have been directed to more specialist services, as they need more help than the new service can provide.
Tim Brooks, who delivers sessions at five GP practices across the area, said: “It is really encouraging to see people starting to receive the help and support we can offer.
“Individuals often struggle on their own to either know they have a problem with alcohol or that they need help – and often it can easily take over lives without people realising it.
“We can offer personal support over 18 sessions to help people locally to take back control of their lives, cut back their drinking, and start to become healthier.
“We now have 12 people receiving our specialist support, and we have room for more. We also have been able to direct a further 15 people to more expert help to treat their dependency on alcohol.”
The service, the first of its kind in the area, was developed by Adur and Worthing Councils, public health at West Sussex County Council and NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.
It offers personalised one-to-one help and support, to help people take control of their drinking habits.
Mr Brooks added: “People have also said that they really appreciate our service, and that the support we offer works really well for them out in the community, local to them and based at GP practices.
“We are pleased with the progress so far and hope we can continue to help even more people over the coming weeks and months.”
Increased risk of cancer, heart attack, high blood pressure and liver problems are some of the harmful effects of regularly drinking more than the recommended levels.
Latest figures show one in five people over the age of 16 in the area are putting their health at risk as a result of alcohol and each year, more than 4,000 people from Adur and Worthing are admitted to hospital as a direct result of their drinking habits.
The aim of the new service is to encourage people will seek help before their drinking becomes a more serious problem.
Dr Rani Dhillion, a locality director for the clinical commissioning group, said: “Last year, nearly 9,000 people died in the UK as a direct result of alcohol. We can’t just stand by and let this happen – we need to make sure there is help and support available for local people.
“Most people who have alcohol-related health problems aren’t alcoholics. They’re simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years. It’s important that people realise that regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits does risk damaging your health.
“It is really encouraging to see that people are already receiving the help they need through this expert service.”
To find out more, call 01903 221450 or visit www.adur-worthingwellbeing.org.uk