People are being encouraged to think about how alcohol affects them, their families, communities and society as a whole as this year's Alcohol Awareness Week approaches.

The theme of this year's campaign by the charity Alcohol Concern is "knowing the risks", with people urged to familiarise themselves with the latest advice around drinking - and to seek help and support if they need it.

Guidance on recommended limits of alcohol was updated earlier this year to state that men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week - the equivalent of 6 pints of beer or 7 standard glasses of wine. Pregnant women should not drink at all.

It also says if people do drink, they should do so moderately over three or more days and that some days should be alcohol free.

Anyone who is concerned about their, or someone else's drinking, can get information, and support by logging onto Type=articles;Articleid=3289;Title=Drink Less;,  which also offers an alcohol self assessment tool and a Drinks Tracker app to monitor how much they are consuming, or by texting DRINK to 07747 532898 or calling the City of Wolverhampton Council's Healthy Lifestyles Team on 01902 553838.

Alcohol trainers from the Healthy Lifestyles Team will be on hand at the Wulfrun Centre on Friday 18 November from 10am to 2pm offering help and advice and encouraging people to check drinking levels by playing a scratchcard game.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton's substance misuse service Recovery Near You will have a stand at the Queen Square end of Dudley Street on Monday and Wednesday (14 and 16 November) from 12pm to 3pm, and again on Monday, Thursday and Friday 21, 24 and 25 November from 12pm to 3pm.

Recovery Near You is also holding a drop-in session open to everyone at the University of Wolverhampton on Wednesday 23 November from 9.30am-3.30pm, and will have a stand at the university on Tuesday and Wednesday 22 and 23 November, where people can complete quizzes around alcohol awareness.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Many of us like to drink alcohol from time to time, but it is important that we do so in moderation.

"The new guidelines make it clear that drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low. The guidance also says that pregnant women should avoid alcohol entirely as a precaution.

"If you are concerned about your drinking, or that of a family member or friend, please take this opportunity to find out about the help and support which is available in from organisations in Wolverhampton."

Helen Kilgallon, from Recovery Near You, said: "Alcohol is by far the most common presenting problem that our staff give advice on.

"We try to ensure that people have an understanding of how their drinking levels can impact upon their health, relationships and communities. We also strive to ensure that those who lapse or relapse after treatment are welcomed back and supported."

Sunny Dhadley from the Service User Involvement Team (SUIT), added: "Alcohol is a substance that causes individuals that access SUIT a great deal of harm.

"More often than not, these harms are associated with impact on housing, education, relationships, employment and mental health. Our service works tirelessly to meet these wider detriments with the hope that they will impact positively upon the damage caused by alcohol in our society."

Recovery Near You can be contacted on 0300 200 2400 for adults and 0300 123 3360 for young people. Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alternatively, please visit Type=links;Linkid=3084;Title=Recovery near you;Target=_blank;. SUIT can be contacted on 01902 328983.

Alcohol Concern says that alcohol can cause more than 60 medical conditions from mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers to high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver and depression.

It is one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, after smoking and obesity with nearly 8,700 alcohol-related deaths in England alone in 2014.

To find out more about Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Awareness Week, please visit Type=links;Linkid=7746;Title=Alcohol Concern;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 10 November, 2016