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Friday, 18 December 2009

Responsible drinking

As pubs and clubs are gearing up for one of the busiest nights of the year - widely known as “Black Friday”, BMA Cymru are urging party goers to drink responsibly tonight.

Black Friday has become one of the busiest nights of the year for those working in Hospitals and the emergency services in Wales. Hospitals are busy putting extensive contingency plans in place to cope with an influx of alcohol induced injuries.

The combination of the Friday before Christmas, pay-day and binge drinking will put an increased strain on services in Wales.

Anti-social behaviour, violence, and drink-driving will multiply this weekend across Wales due to an increased level of alcohol intake, and in many cases, binge drinking.

Alcohol can be an enjoyable part of social and cultural life especially over Christmas. I've said it before - we are not looking to restrict people from having a choice about consuming alcohol, we just want to encourage adults to drink in moderation, rather than drinking to get drunk.

Sometimes people may not even be aware that they are drinking too much – it is easy to do. It is important to keep track of how much you are drinking.

It is vital that people make alternative arrangements for getting home if they are drinking this weekend. Even driving the morning after can be dangerous as alcohol may still be in the system.

I met with Kate Edwards and Melanie Hamer of Pontypridd Women’s Aid recently who have considerable experience in supporting and dealing with victims of domestic violence. They were extremely concerned that the number of complaints about domestic violence would increase this weekend. Kate Edwards who is the Chair of Pontypridd Women’s Aid said:

“There will be a visible police presence out on the streets prompting some to take their anger out at home.

“It is particularly sad when such incidents occur at a time which is meant to be a happy one. Domestic violence can have a dreadful effect not just on the victim, but of course on the children and it can end up not just ruining their Christmas, but impacting adversely on the rest of their lives.”

So the message from us at BMA Cymru is – enjoy a drink, but don’t overdo it.

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