REGULAR drinkers are being advised to give alcohol a rest.
As part of Alcohol Awareness Week, public health advisers in Hampshire say those who currently have a drink every day should take a break from booze for at least a couple of days each week.
They say that however easy it is to crack open a bottle of wine with dinner, or to enjoy a cold beer or two from the fridge, such drinking still carries with it the longer-term risk of liver disease, some cancers and heart attack.
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, it is reckoned there are 65,526 people classed as 'high risk' drinkers (four per cent of the adult population), with a further 297,282 classified as 'increasing risk' drinkers (20 per cent).
It is estimated that this costs the local NHS around £111 million per year.
Dr Ruth Milton, on behalf of the Directors of Public Health for Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, said: “Alcohol is a complex issue with a range of risks for different groups of people. It makes good sense to look for a simple message and useful tools to help people with how much and how often they drink. The Government's Science and Technology Committee has said Scotland's example of recommending at least two alcohol-free days a week - particularly after heavier consumption - is good sensible health advice, and we've adopted this message as our focus for this year's Alcohol Awareness Week campaign.”
She added: “Of course, there's nothing wrong with enjoying one or two glasses of wine or beer some days - but not every day. Drinking at this level every day increases the risk of it developing into a longer-term health problem.
“If you are concerned about your own drinking or that of a loved one, then make an appointment with your GP to seek further help.”