One in five people are worried about drinking more over the Christmas period, according to a poll of more than 1,000 people commissioned by With You.
One in four said they felt pressure to drink more, while one in six had concerns about spending too much money on drink. One in seven also said that they felt they needed to drink to have a good time with family and friends, with a quarter feeling they were ‘expected’ to.
Almost a quarter also said they regularly drank for five days in a row, or more, at this time of year. Around 12 per cent of people said they drank to cope with loneliness over the festive period, with 11 and 10 per cent respectively drinking to cope with bereavement and past trauma. A recent report from the Alcohol Health Alliance also found that the ‘constant bombardment’ of alcohol adverts over the Christmas period could act as a trigger for relapse for people in recovery (DDN, December/January, page 5).
‘Throughout December and the New Year, social calendars will be filling up, with some eager to make up for missing out on last year’s celebrations,’ said With You’s executive director of services for England, Jon Murray. ‘It’s an exciting time for many, but our research shows that it can be a difficult time for those who would like to drink less or struggle with alcohol. Our research shows that as many as one in five are worried about alcohol at this time of year, backing up what we hear from the people who come to our services for support. We often hear of how not just family gatherings and other social events, but also financial pressures and feelings of loneliness and bereavement all come together to make it harder than ever to avoid alcohol.’
With You has also partnered with Snapchat and Frank for an in-app drug education portal called Heads up. The app – which was launched in the US earlier this year – includes information on using drugs like cannabis and MDMA, as well as advice on issues like being pressured to take drugs. Snapchat is also taking measures to prevent drug sales on its app, it says.
‘We’re pleased to be partnering with Snapchat on Heads Up, an initiative that will help raise awareness of drugs and how to stay safe across a platform used by millions of young people each day in the UK,’ said With You’s head of young persons service delivery, Jennifer Rushworth-Claeys. ‘It comes at a crucial time with levels of drug use remaining high among young people who increasingly turn to social media to access information and connect with friends.’