Published Thursday 13 March 2014 at 16:13
New figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown that the borough’s public health programmes are making headway at reducing alcohol related deaths in Blackburn with Darwen.
The figures reveal that alcohol related deaths fell by 24% from 91 to 69 between 2004/06 and 2010/12.
During this time, deaths in the North West increased overall, with the region now having the highest rate of alcohol related deaths in the UK.
The stats come as a new alcohol strategy for Blackburn with Darwen is currently being finalised to try and tackle the local harms caused by alcohol misuse.
The strategy has been developed in conjunction with Blackburn with Darwen Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, emergency services and voluntary community and faith sector providers.
It is due to go to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Board on April 10.
Councillor Brian Taylor, lead member for health and adult social care, said: “I’m pleased to see this decrease but even so, I believe the Government’s complacency is still costing us 69 lives a year and costing each citizen £486 per year from violent crime, anti-social behaviour and ill health. It is now obvious and undeniable that the drinks industry has turned the Government away from doing the right thing. It has fallen to local authorities to show what needs to be done. As a council we are looking to act in concert with other adjacent authorities to bring in the minimum unit price for alcohol. This has a proven effect on those that drink abusively but only costs the average drinker an extra 5p a week.”
Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, Dominic Harrison, added: “I am delighted that we are making so much progress in Blackburn with Darwen in preventing alcohol related deaths. This good news comes on the back of recent news from ONS that we have also improved life expectancy for men and women across the borough between 2010-12. However, although we seem to be preventing deaths we still have very high levels of alcohol related harm and hospital admissions in the borough. We firmly believe more needs to be done to prevent all of the alcohol related harm – we are actively working on it via the new alcohol strategy.”
You can view the draft alcohol strategy along with its corresponding action plan here: www.blackburn.gov.uk/hwbb There is an active consultation on the action plan and you can submit any comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org