Alcohol scratchcards to manage drinking

Over 40 community pharmacies across West Sussex are issuing scratch cards to customers to help educate people about safe drinking habits, and find out about levels of drinking in the county.

Hinal Patel, service development & support pharmacist for CPSS brokered the introduction of the new initiative.  She said: “The scratch card is a great way of introducing a conversation. It’s a novel and quick way to help broach what can be a difficult subject. People are responding very well and volunteering information about their drinking.”

After the customer has used the scratch card, the pharmacist is able to broach the subject of drinking.

Hinal explains why this new initiative is important: “Alcohol is the substance most widely and problematically used in West Sussex, with estimates suggesting that 24% of adults are drinking above the lower risk limits.

“Local data indicates that people are presenting to alcohol structured treatment when they are very unwell through alcohol dependency.

“Providing earlier interventions to people who are drinking at increasing- and higher-risk levels, will prevent alcohol related harm and help reduce risks of future alcohol dependence”.

She added that working with pharmacy staff, who are respected professionals, provides the perfect opportunity to do just this.

Current government guideline for safe alcohol consumption is no more that 14 units per week for both men and Women.  One large glass of wine (250ml) contains up to four units, which means that many West Sussex residents who are daily wine drinkers are consuming more alcohol than is healthy.

This new initiative was launched on 7 January, funded by West Sussex County Council’s public health department.