People who misuse alcohol

Alcohol misuse is an increasing problem for Northumberland; it impacts not only on the health and well-being of the individual drinker but also on families, society through crime and disorder, accidents and injury, sexual and other risk taking behaviours and escalating costs to Health and Social care.

 

More details about these headline statistics are available in:

  • the NHS North of Tyne Strategic Health Needs Assessment 2009/10;
  • the recently completed Needs Assessment for Alcohol Treatment and Prevention Services in Northumberland;
  • Northumberland Drug and Alcohol Action Team’s Young People’s Needs Assessment November 2009.
  • Northumberland Drug and Alcohol Action Team’s Adult Drug Treatment Plan 2009/10.

Context:

Alcohol misuse is an increasing problem for Northumberland; it impacts not only on the health and well-being of the individual drinker but also on families, society through crime and disorder, accidents and injury, sexual and other risk taking behaviours and escalating costs to Health and Social care.

Excessive and inappropriate drinking leads to crime and social disorder - particularly youth disorder - with increased demand on Police and other support services.  Hazardous and harmful drinking in the home is widespread and damaging to the health and wellbeing of individuals and families and needs to be better understood.

Alcohol misuse has been highlighted as a priority for development, action and funding within the NHS North of Tyne Strategic Plan; it has also been selected as a key health outcome within the World Class Commissioning assurance process.

The Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) has a clear responsibility to plan, commission and monitor interventions to combat these issues in Northumberland.

Tackling substance misuse is a key cross cutting theme within the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan (Insert link to December 2009 FACT Board).

Key Messages:

  • Problems caused by alcohol use in Northumberland impact on a wide range of agencies and activities. 
  • The health problems associated with alcohol have been steadily increasing with rises in hospital admissions for both alcohol-related and alcohol-attributable conditions.
  • Unless interventions are put in place to reduce alcohol related harm, hospital admission are likely to continue rising.
  • These rises are seen across Northumberland with a particularly high rate in the South Eastern part of the county.
  • This has not just affected adults as the number of children admitted to hospital for alcohol related conditions has also increased.
  • The number of people receiving treatment by alcohol services appears to have remained constant over the last few years.  This may well be an indication that the services currently provided are running to capacity.
  • Crime related to alcohol has remained constant, however this has to be viewed in the context of falling overall crime rates, which means that, as a proportion of recorded crime, alcohol-related crime is increasing.
  • The number of motorists being tested for drink driving has declined along with the relative rate of positive tests. 
  • Alcohol misuse is the single most significant factor in young people’s substance misuse in Northumberland. 
  • Northumberland needs to meet the accommodation needs of young people who misuse substances
  • Resources need to be established to support young people’s and parent/carer’s engagement with designing services
  • Need to find a better way of supporting parent/carers of young people who have problems with their substance misuse

What we know

National

  • The Alcohol Needs Analysis Research Project (ANARP)[1] undertaken in 2005 found that:
  • 38% of men and 16% of women (aged 16–64) have an alcohol use disorder;
  • 32% of men and 15% of women are hazardous or harmful alcohol users of alcohol;
  • 21% of men and 9% of women were identified as binge drinkers; and
  • 6% of men and 2% of women have alcohol dependence. 
  • Data from the Health Survey for England for 2003-2005 shows that across England binge drinking prevalence in adults (aged 16 years and over) was 18.0%.
  • There is a rising trend in hospital admissions for alcohol related harm in England.
  • In November 2008, there were around 42,000 (130.6 per 100,000) Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance claimants whose main medical reason for being unable to work was alcoholism.

Regional

  • In the absence of robust local data, synthetic estimates based on the Health Survey for England are used to compare binge drinking prevalence in adults (aged 16 years and over) in local authorities.  These show that for 2003-2005 estimated binge drinking prevalence for the North East was 26.5%.
  • There is a rising trend in hospital admissions for alcohol related harm in the North East.
  • In November 2008, there were around 2,800 (175.8 per 100,000) Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance claimants whose main medical reason for being unable to work was alcoholism.

Local

  • Applying the prevalence estimates from the Alcohol Needs Analysis Research Project (ANARP) to the local population we estimate that there are:
  • 53,300 persons with an alcohol use disorder;
  • 46,400 hazardous or harmful alcohol users of alcohol; and
  • 7,900 persons with alcohol dependence. 
  • In the absence of robust local data, synthetic estimates based on the Health Survey for England are used to compare binge drinking prevalence in adults (aged 16 years and over) in local authorities.  These show that for 2003-2005 estimated binge drinking prevalence for Northumberland was 25.5% - with the former districts of Northumberland ranging from 24.5% in Alnwick and Berwick upon Tweed to 26.4% in Wansbeck.  Further information is available from: http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/
  • Northumberland has a relatively high estimated prevalence of binge drinking when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • There is a rising trend in hospital admissions for alcohol related harm in the Northumberland; the rate of increase is faster than all other similar PCTs.
  • Deaths from chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, are not significantly different to the England average and compare well with similar PCTs.
  • In November 2008, there were around 190 (100.1 per 100,000) Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance claimants whose main medical reason for being unable to work was alcoholism.
  • 52% of the population in treatment for drug misuse use alcohol as their main drug. 80% use alcohol as a first, second or third drug.
  • The national treatment agency is positive about how Northumberland is meeting the needs of young people who misuse substances.
  • We know there is a shortfall in meeting the accommodation needs of young people who leave custody and require support to address their substance misuse difficulties.  Funding has been secured in 2009 to partially address this issue.
  • Commencement and ongoing review of the in-county pharmacological service for young people is a key priority, to include further development of Harm reduction and Transitional arrangements

What people have told us – consultation and feedback

Local engagement work

Social marketing

Surveys

The key messages have come out of the Young Peoples Needs Assessment 2009

TellUs survey results.  The reported frequency of alcohol and substance use by young people is relatively high in Northumberland compared to the national average, and local area data needs to be analysed to determine if more targeted interventions are required.

Policy and Research

National

Safe. Sensible. Social. The Government’s Alcohol Strategy

In June 2007, the Department of Health and the Home Office jointly launched an updated government alcohol strategy, setting out clear goals and actions to promote sensible drinking and reduce the harm that alcohol can cause.  The strategy sets out to: minimise the health harms, violence and antisocial behaviour associated with alcohol, while ensuring that people are able to enjoy alcohol safely and responsibly.

 

Alcohol Improvement Programme

 

The Alcohol Improvement Programme was established in April 2008 by the Department of Health to help reduce Alcohol-related Hospital Admissions across the NHS.

Regional

 

Better Health, Fairer Health

 

The North East's first ever health and wellbeing strategy was launched in February 2008.  This ambitious plan aims to transform the region into the healthiest in England within a generation.   Alcohol is one of the key themes of this strategy.

 

Balance – Getting the Measure of Alcohol

Balance is the North East of England’s Alcohol Office, the first of its kind in the UK.  It seeks to inspire changes in the way we think about and drink alcohol in order to encourage people to enjoy a good time but reduce their consumption with the aim to have happier, healthier people living in safer communities across the North East.

Local

NHS North of Tyne Strategic Plan 2010-2014

The ambitious five year plan aims to improve well-being and health for almost 800,000 people living across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.  The Plan has been developed within the context of health needs assessment which shows that many of the major health conditions for the population are linked to lifestyle choices.  There is a clear link to the indicators that we have selected as World Class Commissioning (WCC) outcomes - including the measure of alcohol related hospital admissions.

Annual operational plan

The North of Tyne annual operational plan sets out the developments we are planning over the next year to improve health and well-being and health services across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.  The plan has been drafted in line with national and local priorities and reflects discussions we have had over the past year with key partners including members of the public.

Releasing the Strength of our Communities

The current Sustainable Community Strategy for Northumberland was adopted by the partnership in September 2007 and covers the period to 2021.  It outlines an aspirational long-term vision for the communities of Northumberland and defines a series of shared priority outcomes that form the basis for delivering a fundamental step change to the quality of life in Northumberland.  “Lead healthier lifestyles” is one of the key themes of the strategy.  The Strategy will be updated during 2010/11.

Local Area Agreement

 

Northumberland’s Local Area Agreement 2008-2011, and refreshed targets as at March 2010 include a targets for slowing the rise in alcohol related hospital admissions.

Healthy lives, stronger communities

A strategy to improve health and well-being in Northumberland, published in 2007, includes tackling obesity as a priority.

 

Northumberland Alcohol Strategy

A comprehensive Alcohol Needs Assessment has been completed and the findings from this will underpin the refresh of the county wide strategy by Autumn 2010.  This will set out action plans focused on the following targeted groups:

  • Hazardous drinkers;
  • Harmful drinkers;
  • Children & young people; and
  • Offenders.

Northumberland Children & Young People’s Plan

The Children’s and Young People’s Plan 2008-11 is due for refresh Spring 2010, this will incorporate the commissioning strategy.  The plan includes action to promote healthy drinking behaviours and to provide support and treatment for those misusing alcohol.

We are currently updating our Service Plans for 2010-11, they will also inform future priorities.  This section will be available by the end of May 2010. Service Plans for 2009-10 are available to view.

Our priorities for the future

  • The PCT has applied for £185k through the Annual Operational Plan process to improve and expand community alcohol services;
  • Redirection of existing funding is being considered to allow the development of a local enhanced service for screening and brief advice (IBA) in primary care across Northumberland.
  • £83k has been made available as part of the North of Tyne commitment into the Regional Alcohol Office - calculated at 27p per head of population >16 yrs.
  • The delivery of alcohol services in North Northumberland is particularly challenging and discussions are underway around the development of peripatetic provision.
  • Ensure that young people who misuse drugs or alcohol have prompt access to support and treatment.
  • This area has been protected in the Children’s services budget given the increase in need.
  • 90% of schools are now accredited with achieving the Healthy Schools standard which includes preventative education around substance misuse issues.
  • We want to further embed the Targeted Youth Support model with the work of the FACT teams so there is a stronger link between identifying vulnerable young people who may not be involved with social workers, but are at risk due to their substance misuse behaviour.
  • Recommissioning the focus of the Children’s Fund to Hidden Harm as it was identified that the most high needs cases within a safeguarding context often had their origins in parental substance misuse (as well as domestic violence and adult mental health problems.
  • Good education through schools is taking place through the Drug Education consultant delivering sessions upon request from schools with a main focus on the effects of alcohol. 
  • This has highlighted the link between alcohol use and young people becoming involved in risk taking behaviours; schools are therefore linking their drug education to other areas of the curriculum, particularly Sex and Relationships Education (SRE).