DRINKERS are being challenged to go teetotal for one month this January.
More than four and a half million working days in the UK could be lost to hangovers this January, claims the charity Alcohol Concern.
It is estimated that around 200,000 people go to work with a hangover every day, costing the economy around £6.4 billion each year. Overall, alcohol-related harm is now estimated to cost society £21 billion every year.
Emily Robinson, director of campaigns at Alcohol Concern, said: “We’re challenging people to take part in Dry January and try giving up booze for 31 days.
“If it sounds like a big ask you’re exactly the person we want to join us and have a go.
“We’re not being killjoys or telling people to never drink again; we just think this provides the perfect opportunity for all of us to take a breather and get thinking about our drinking.”
The Dry January campaign launched weeks after Alcohol Concern published its Alcohol Harm Map, which found the biggest drain on NHS resources were baby boomers (age 55-74 years old), not young binge drinkers as many assume.
People who regularly drink over recommended limits are more likely to find themselves with health problems because of it, including liver disease, heart disease and high blood pressure; alcohol is also the second biggest risk factor for cancer after smoking.
Dr Janet Atherton, Sefton’s director of public health, said: “We all like to celebrate during the festivities, and alcohol sometimes plays a part in that. But there’s no denying the harmful effects that alcohol plays on many people’s lives in Sefton. That’s why we’re so keen to get behind this campaign in Sefton, and encourage people to take part in the Dry January Challenge.
“We know over three quarters of Sefton residents are concerned about people’s drunken behaviour and that over 12,000 residents have a family member in Sefton with a drinking problem. So there are lots of reasons to get behind this campaign.”
It is hoped those taking part in Dry January will use it as an opportunity to ditch the hangover, reduce their waistline, save some pennies and take time to think about whether their drinking is really working for them.
To sign up to Dry January in Sefton, call Healthy Sefton on 0300 100 1000 or go to www.healthysefton.nhs.uk/ dryjanuary