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Alcohol is a major contributor to mortality in Birmingham: the Floor Target Action Plan for male life expectancy showed that chronic liver disease and cirrhosis was an important contributor to years of life lost under 75 for men in the most deprived parts of Birmingham. Alcohol's effects are also wider: it is an important factor in road traffic accidents and in incidents of violence. National research reported in 2004 suggested that nearly a quarter of the adult population were drinking at hazardous or harmful levels, while 3.6 per cent were alcohol dependent. Moreover, unlike smoking where rates of prevalence have been declining, alcohol consumption is rising, especially among young people. In 2006 the Birmingham Strategic Partnership adopted an alcohol strategy framework, and this has now been developed into the Birmingham Alcohol Strategy, which was approved by the Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Partnership and the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership in September 2007. Historically, there has been a range of good work delivered across the city, but these have lacked coordination. The new strategy aims to address this. Implementation will be through the structures of Birmingham's Drug Action Team, which will be transformed into the Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT). Delivery groups will take forward the three key elements of the strategy: crime and disorder, treatment and prevention, and children and young people. The Strategy sets out key priorities and outline action plans for these three elements, as well as for work to develop infrastructure and communications. These action plans will be delivered in partnership, with lead agencies designated for individual actions. The Strategy will lead to the development of specific programmes as well as redesign of services. A needs assessment has been commissioned to identify key gaps and opportunities. Variations in needs and availability of services across the city are already recognised: the needs assessment is intended to begin the process of addressing these differences. Data collection systems are being brought together to improve arrangements for performance management. The Strategy covers a number of issues. The following are important to the issue of health inequalities in Birmingham. Crime and disorder This element of the Strategy includes   

encouraging sensible drinking through use of licensing powers and working with licensees improving the identification of individuals in contact with the criminal justice system who have alcohol problems and referring them for treatment making greater use of treatment interventions within the criminal justice system.

Treatment and prevention This element of the Strategy includes

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putting in place information strategies and campaigns to increase levels of awareness, including piloting alcohol advice in the workplace ensuring the treatment system is in line with Models of Care for Alcohol Misuse and that treatment approaches are accessible and relevant to all communities and groups, including older people, women and members of black and minority ethnic communities piloting walk-in centres and outreach services developing interventions within primary care, including the "shared care" model used for drug interventions ensuring sufficient capacity to meet demand for specialist tier 2 and tier 3 services developing services for families and carers of those who misuse alcohol ensuring aftercare services are available to support those who have reduced their use of alcohol – this will include self-help initiatives working with housing providers to ensure adequate provision of supported housing for those with alcohol problems.

Children and Young People This element of the Strategy includes     

protecting children and young people through ensuring licensing obligations are met designing training on alcohol awareness for professionals working with children and young people and with families where alcohol misuse is a problem developing programmes of education and prevention for vulnerable young people addressing the needs of the children of those with alcohol problems enhancing treatment and aftercare services for young people who misuse alcohol.

The Strategy also aims to improve engagement with communities on alcohol related issues.


BIRMINGHAM HEALTH INEQUALITIES ASSESSMENT – ALCOHOL Alcohol is a major contributor to mortality in Birmingham: the Floor Target Action Plan...