Wrexham shoppers don beer goggles in alcohol awareness campaign

Shoppers donned beer goggles and braved an obstacle course as part of a drive to raise awareness of alcohol related issues.

Members of the Caia Park Health Team set up camp at Eagles Meadow shopping centre, Wrexham.

Armed with information booklets and goodie bags they set out to let shoppers know the dangers of over-drinking.

They also had specially-designed goggles that recreate the visual distortion, loss of perception and lack of control that impair people under the influence of alcohol.

Shopper William Bradfield put on the goggles and tackled the obstacle course.

He said: “It did feel like you were drunk. Your body was swaying and your eyes we’re blurry, so it was quite hard to balance. It made it more complicated to walk. It’s a fun way to make people aware of the issues around alcohol.”

The 42-year-old mental health nurse from Llandudno added: “I think it’s good that the Caia Park Health Team came to Eagles Meadow to raise awareness in this way.

“It’s good because people should be aware of the damages of alcohol, to your body, to the liver and everything else. It also has a big impact on society and can cause long-term health issues.”

James Duckers, a health improvement practitioner, with the Caia Park Health Team, said: “The  beer goggles are a great way of  making people aware of the consequences of over drinking.

“Coming to a place like Eagles Meadow enables us to see people that won’t necessarily come to us as a service directly.

“It allows us to spread that message far and wide, because they tend to go back and share it with their families and friends.”

Dealing with alcohol related issues costs the NHS Wales over £80 million a year.

But most people with drink related health problems are not addicted to alcohol. They’re people who have drunk more than the guidelines for a number of years.

According to the lower risk guidelines women should not regularly drink more than two to three units of alcohol a day and men should not regularly drink more than three to four units a day. Everyone should aim to have at least two alcohol free days a week.

Failure to stick the guidelines increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus or larynx, and breast cancer in women. It also increases the risk of a stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, pancreatic and reduced fertility.

Two large glasses of wine a day could male you three times more likely to get mouth cancer

The Caia Park Health Team formed an alliance at Eagles Meadow with the Choose Well Winter Campaign.

The campaign is part of a drive relieve the growing pressure on hospital accident and emergency departments this winter.

Dr Aruni Sen, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, says it’s imperative Emergency Departments (A&E) and ambulance services are only used for serious illnesses or injuries this winter.

He said: “The Choose Well Campaign is a North Wales initiative which will help patients make the right choices. It’s vital we don’t allow our Emergency Departments to get clogged up as has happened in the past.

“The Choose Well Campaign works like a temperature chart with blue at the bottom for symptoms such as hangovers, a grazed knee or perhaps a cough. These conditions simply do not require treatment at an Emergency Department and can be dealt with using by self-care.

“Moving up the scale to green we have conditions such as diarrhoea, upset stomachs or a runny nose, all symptoms that can be sorted out with a visit to a pharmacist.

“Then at the top of the scale, the red section, we have choking, chest pains, blood loss or serious injury. These are clearly matters that should be dealt with at an Emergency Department and may require a 999 call for an ambulance.

“It’s all about giving the public the right information so they make the correct, and right, choice. We should not be clogging up Emergency Departments by presenting for treatment with very minor injuries or conditions.”

Adam Johnson, communications leader for the Choose Well Winter Campaign, relished the opportunity to go to Eagles Meadow to spread the message.

He said: “Face to face is the best way of getting information across to the public. They understand a bit more if you actually explain it, and they take an interest as well.

“The message with Choose Well with winter is just be sensible, be safe. It also overlaps with the alcohol awareness message from the Caia Park Health Team. At the end of the day, you’re not going to have a good time if you end up in hospital. It’s going to ruin your night.”

Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley was pleased to be able to help.

He said: “It is important to encourage people to be sensible especially this time of year when thoughts turn to the festive season and ultimately choose well to help their own health and safety.”

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