Alcohol plays a role in British culture, it is often part of our social and family life. However, alcohol misuse in Cheshire West and Chester is estimated to cost more than £129 million a year, equivalent to £393 for every person living in our local community. More needs to be done to promote safe and sensible drinking, as large sections of the population experience an unacceptable level of alcohol-related harm which has a negative impact on individuals, local families and communities.
Regular drinking outside of recommended upper limits (14 units a week for men and women) risks a future burdened by illnesses (including cancer, liver disease, high blood pressure and heart disease), increases the risk of falls and fractures and impacts negatively on people's mental health and wellbeing and excessive regular drinking can all too easily turn into dependence.
For families, excess alcohol consumption can lead to relationship breakdown, domestic abuse, safeguarding and financial issues.
For communities, alcohol can fuel crime and disorder, which can transform our towns and city centre into no-go areas. It increases the level of assaults and anti-social behaviour, increases demand on Blue Light Services and damages the reputation of communities and the area as a whole. This in turn, can have a negative impact on the local economy.
This strategy sets out actions aimed at re-balancing the relationship Cheshire West and Chester has with alcohol. The harm caused by alcohol in Cheshire West and Chester is not a problem of a small minority, it is a problem that cuts across our entire population and affects local residents of all ages. In addition, Cheshire West and Chester has over 31 million visitors per year which brings with it an added layer of complexity, with some aspects of tourism being associated with excessive alcohol consumption.