So it’s Alcohol Awareness Week this week (14-20 November) here in the UK and as a Public Health Nurse I can’t NOT feature a post a day during this time. My only remaining news source that I subscribe to is the excellent Alcohol Policy UK so I will be reproducing mainly their work here.
Alcohol Concern have announced Alcohol Awareness Week (AAW) 2016 will take place from the 14th to the 20th November, with a theme of “Knowing the Risks”.
The national charity says the aim of AAW is ‘to get people thinking about alcohol – how it affects us as individuals, families, communities and society as a whole’, and is often used by organisations or services to reach out to service users, the public or launch new findings. Social media has also played an increasing role, with #AAW2016 as the Twitter ‘hashtag’.
The theme follows significant attention of late to the question of what exactly are the risks from alcohol use, particularly at lower risk levels, following the revised consumption guidelines. However both the existence of the guidelines and activity such as AAW raises questions over to what extent ‘awareness’ in itself can reduce harms, as we explored in our review of AAW 2015.
Indeed the Chief Medical Officer accepted that guidelines themselves ‘may not reduce consumption directly’ earlier this year, though informed decision making forms an important basis for drinkers to consider potential consequences of drinking or goals they may wish to aim for.
Alcohol Concern have also increasingly promoted signing up to Dry January as part of AAW activity. Indeed evaluation of Dry January has suggested positive outcomes despite some ongoing questions, whilst more recent research has shown population surveys finding increased attempts to cut down during the month.
Alcohol Concern are also offering local areas the option to order small quantities of alcohol ‘scratchcards’ [see pdf version here] for cost price – download scratchcard pre order form. Over recent years scratchcards based on the AUDIT-C assessment tool have been an increasingly popular in a range of settings. Indeed AUDIT-C is commonly utilised as part of Identification & Brief Advice (IBA), a brief intervention approach typically delivered by health care roles. However concerns that simply disseminating scratchcards may be claimed as ‘IBA’ have been raised previously, rather than as an engagement tool.
See Alcohol Concern’s AAW page for more information, alcohol facts and further links.