Getting the Measure of Alcohol

On any given day Cyrenians has about 60 Key Workers out there locally, supporting our customers to achieve big things for themselves. For some it might be getting a home. For others, a job. Or the focus might be on improving family relationships, health or developing confidence so that they can get to a better place in their life.

About 3 years ago we realised that we were not as good as we could be at supporting our generic Key Workers to talk with their customers about alcohol – not unless it was the problem, in which case we have specialist workers and services. But drinking can be a problem that sits beneath. It can creep up. We may not always be aware of the links between our alcohol use and other problems or concerns. If our situation – health, housing, employment, relationships – is already fragile, high alcohol use is likely to make things worse. That’s why it’s important that we talk about alcohol and understand it well. Funding from Comic Relief has been used to make this better.

Our Getting the Measure website has now gone live. It is aimed at people supporting others and is packed with information and resources.  We’ve also this week published the GtM Evalution Report by Create Concultancy, aimed at being of wider interest and use to agencies wanting to provide better alcohol interventions.  I hope that these resources are an encouragement and of real use in helping.

On the 27th March we will be holding a one day conference, where we will be inviting local authority commissioners, representatives from Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, policy makers and senior health care professionals to join our discussion and help shape a cross-sector, preventative approach to Scotland’s problem with alcohol. Contact to register in advance.

The social cost of alcohol use in Scotland is too high – and getting higher – particularly to young people and those with the least reason not to drink:

  • The number of people with alcoholic liver disease in Scotland has risen by 400% between 1996 and 2008.
  • 50% of Scotland’s prison population say they were drunk at the time of their offence.
  • The estimated annual cost of alcohol use in Scotland is £3.56bn

We have a long way to go in Scotland in changing the culture around drinking. Getting the Measure will at least ensure that the most at risk are being better supported by more confident and informed helpers.



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