European Awareness Week theme is Alcohol and Cancer

The European Awareness week on Alcohol related harm commenced on 16th November 2020.

The aim is to raise awareness among EU policy holders of the harms caused by alcohol, to increase awareness of the need to address alcohol related harm in Europe and highlight the need to address it through an integrated approach to alcohol policy. 

Tallagh Drugs Force 02 1

Fiona Murphy of the Tallaght Drugs & Alcohol Task Force

 

This year the theme is Alcohol and Cancer.

The current public health pandemic Covid-19 is understandably causing many of us stress and upheaval. 

We are worrying about ourselves, our loved ones, and our very way of living. For many of us the current stresses are bringing to the fore earlier traumas and collectively we are also absorbing the multiple anxieties around us. 

During times like this, it might be difficult to stay on top of how much we are drinking, or indeed there might be an inclination to drink more heavily and more frequently as we reach out for something to numb the tension. 

Unfortunately, this leads to a corresponding rise in anxiety, depression and irritability and so to greater stresses.

Relationships may also be coming under pressure as the drinking increases.

Alcohol also has a damaging effect on your immune system and will not stimulate immunity and virus resistance.

This leads me onto the theme for European Alcohol Awareness week, Alcohol and Cancer. 

Alcohol is a known cause of seven types of Cancer including mouth, throat, larynx, oesophagus, breast, liver and bowel. By reducing your intake of Alcohol you are not only improving your mental and physical wellbeing you are also reducing your risk of developing cancer.

In my role as Alcohol Development worker for the Taskforce I attend the Community Action on Alcohol Network (ICAAN). ICAAN is made up Local and Regional Drug Taskforces and their aim is to build the capacity of communities by identifying alcohol issues and developing local Alcohol Action Plans. During the first lockdown we commissioned a Red C Poll. 

The results found that those above 25 are having more of a reliance on alcohol, and almost 1 in 3 were drinking more alcohol since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. 

So, we are encouraging people to look at their own relationship with alcohol and if you or a loved one is in need of support, there are many supports available to you. 

We developed a Community Alcohol Programme and ran our first Alcohol Programme in January, however due to Covid restrictions our group work ceased. One to one phone support was continued with, and participants have managed to successfully maintain sobriety. 

The demand for this programme has been quite significant, the numbers presenting to services with alcohol issues has increased so we will be commencing the 2nd round of the programme with new participants next week and if anyone would like more information they can contact myself on 087 2742129.  

This will be held in a new project TASP (Tallaght Addiction Support Project) in Fettercairn. There are also other supports available to anyone who is struggling with alcohol misuse and would like to make some changes:

Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Taskforce Ph: 01 464 9303 www.tallaghtdatf.ie/;

HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline Ph:1800 459459 www.askaboutalcohol.ie;

HSE Alcohol Service Ph: 01 9214950

Alcoholics Anonymous Ph: 01 842 0700 www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie

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