- The Friday before Christmas is traditionally a day of celebration – last year more alcohol was sold in pubs, bars and restaurants than on New Year's Eve
- Sales of alcohol rise by more than a quarter between November and December
- Alcohol Concern is already seeing sign ups for Dry January 2015 as people think about taking a break from the booze
South Reading Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging residents to think carefully about their alcohol intake this Christmas and to sign up for the Dry January Challenge.
Friday 19 December is dubbed 'the Black Friday of Booze', as the Christmas party season reaches its peak with an influx of revellers in pubs, bars and restaurants creating high demand across the emergency services. However, a spike in sign-ups to Dry January is also predicted as people start to think about giving their bodies a break in the New Year.
This comes as national figures show that:
- Last year, Friday 20 December saw sales of alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants rise by 114% compared to an average Friday
- £3.7 billion was spent on alcohol last December, with total sales of alcohol rising by more than a quarter (28%) from November to December
- Sales of sparkling wine and liqueurs jumped in particular, by 88% and 54% respectively.
Dr Helen George, a Reading GP said: "Many people do not realise what constitutes a "safe level" of alcohol consumption. There is also lack of awareness of the diseases associated with excess alcohol such as gastrointestinal, liver, cardiac disease and cancers. Whilst the death rate from alcoholic liver disease is falling in Europe, we are not seeing the same in the UK.
"Young people in their 50s are dying unnecessarily from alcoholic liver disease. The cohort we are trying to target is twofold: The younger patients and teenagers to educate them about safe drinking, and the harmful and hazardous drinkers of all ages, so we can step in before there is permanent liver damage."
To sign up for the Dry January campaign, visit the Dry January website.
To find out what constitutes a safe amount of alcohol and for tips to cut alcohol consumption, visit the NHS Choices website.