A DUMBARTON alcohol awareness


has found people drinking at home are consuming way more than they realise – often in excess of current low-risk guidelines.

As part of national Alcohol Awareness Week, staff and volunteers from Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol (DACA) spoke to more than 300 people at local community venues.

DACA staff said they were “surprised” to find out so many people consumed alcohol at home – without realising the size of the measures they were having – or what effect this could have on their health and wellbeing.

Mags Mackenzie, DACA chief executive, said: “It was a really interesting week and a great opportunity for our team to speak to the general public – many of whom were surprised to find out that they are drinking at levels above the low-risk guidelines, and unknowingly putting their health at risk.

“We used a typical household wine glass and tumbler and asked people to demonstrate their usual home-poured measure. Inevitably they’d pour much more than a standard pub measure, and then were aghast to find out exactly how many units are in their at-home tipple.”

The team at DACA acknowledged that many factors contribute to public confusion over the safe consumption of alcohol. Understanding alcohol harm is an emerging science, so the guidelines and advice around reducing risk change as new evidence is uncovered.

There are currently no laws compelling drinks manufacturers to put health warnings on their packaging, so it’s not obvious to the average consumer that alcohol is a factor in over 60 different health conditions, including seven types of cancer.

Mags continued: “People often think they’re being good hosts when they pour their guests a generous glass of wine or a G&T in a tall glass with 50 per cent gin. In actual fact, they’re serving up a host of potential health problems to their friends and family. This is one of those occasions where less is better.”

The team also came across members of the public who admitted drinking every day.

Mags added: “We spoke to a few folk who thought it wasn’t a problem to have a drink every day. In fact, some thought a glass of red wine or a hot toddy before bed was actually good for their health.

“In reality the low-risk limits, which are now 14 units per week (that’s about five pints or five large glasses of wine) for both men and women, are just that – low-risk. The chief medical officer isn’t saying it’s safe to drink that amount per week, just that there is less risk.

“There are also quite a few people who think they are okay to have a drink and still be safe to drive, but you could be over the limit after just a pint or a glass of wine.”