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Universities to help Alcohol Concern Cymru efforts to change drinking culture in Wales

25 February 2011

A new university research project will aim to help shift the drinking culture in Wales towards more responsible and healthy alcohol use.

Alcohol Concern Cymru has commissioned a team of seven researchers to collect and analyse research which has focused upon attempts to tackle alcohol misuse worldwide.

The organisation, which has provided £30,000 to fund the work, wants to gather and review evidence about what can change drinking cultures. This will be used to inform its future approach in helping people to deal with alcohol-related illnesses, and to influence the government’s policies on alcohol.

Current estimates attribute around 1,000 deaths a year in Wales to alcohol, with alcohol-related mortality doubling between the period 1991-1993 compared to 2004-2006.

Led by Glyndŵr University’s Professor Rob Poole, the research group will assess the quality and reliability of existing published research into alcohol consumption.

The project will cover what is known about the impact of government policies such as extended opening hours, as well as looking at drinking cultures in other countries.

Professor Poole, a professor of mental health who has conducted extensive research into substance misuse problems, will be joined by Bangor University’s Dr Catherine Robinson and Glyndŵr University colleagues Dr Lynne Kennedy, Professor Karen Tocque, Professor Odette Parry, Dr Charles Shelton and John Bailey to carry out the work.

Professor Poole said: “We are delighted to be able to support the work of Alcohol Concern Cymru. This is a significant collaboration between Glyndŵr University and Bangor University which will deliver a robust piece of academic research on a health-related topic which will benefit people living in Wales.

“Alcohol is cheaper now than it has been at any point since the start of the First World War and this is causing a potentially huge health problem. It is becoming increasingly important, therefore, that we do find out ways in which we can achieve a positive change in the drinking culture in Wales.”

Alcohol Concern Cymru Policy Manager Andrew Misell said: “Alcohol has been used and enjoyed in Wales for centuries, but in recent decades we’ve seen a massive rise in drinking, and in a culture of drinking to get drunk.

“We’re working to shift that culture, so that Wales can develop a healthier relationship with alcohol. This research by Bangor and Glyndŵr Universities will help us to understand much better what influences the way we drink, and how we can change attitudes. ”

The research project is expected to last six months.

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