A group tasked with reducing alcohol-related harm in Warwickshire is asking people to ‘try’ to drink sensibly as they enjoy this year’s RBS Six Nations Rugby Union tournament, which starts on Saturday (2nd February).
In the first match of this year’s Six Nations, England will battle it out with Wales on 2nd February. The England squad will then take on Italy on 10th February, France on 23rd February, Scotland on 8th March and Ireland on the 15th March.
A multi-agency Alcohol Task Group for Warwickshire is urging rugby fans to drink responsibly as they watch England progress through the tournament.
The group, which includes Warwickshire County Council, the local Primary Care Trusts, local service providers, Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire Probation Service and the District and Borough Councils, are behind a joint Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for Warwickshire.
Kit Leck, Manager of Warwickshire County Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: “Lots of people are fond of a drink while they are watching the rugby, as they believe it helps them unwind. We want individuals to enjoy themselves, but there is a distinction between drinking sensibly and drinking excessively.
“Reckless drinking can not only cause major damage to people’s wellbeing but also can also lead to other problems such as crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour. Alcohol-related harm costs Warwickshire approximately £8 million every year.”
The connection between sporting events and alcohol consumption is also a factor in around a half of all cases of domestic violence, and there are approximately 12,000 incidents of alcohol-related domestic violence in Warwickshire every year.
Kit Leck concluded: “Each year in Warwickshire there are about 200 admissions to Accident & Emergency through injury as a direct consequence of alcohol, so we would advise individuals to think before they drink and make sure they don’t get hurt, finish up in A&E, or even in a police cell.”
Here are some tips for safe drinking while enjoying the England rugby matches:
• Pace yourself with water or a soft drink after each alcoholic drink.
• Eat before you start drinking, or at least enjoy snacks or a meal with your drink.
• If you’re going out in the car to watch the rugby, make a decision in advance of who’ll be your “Des” – your designated non-drinking driver.
• Or plan a safe way to get home before you go, using public transport or licensed taxi companies.