BOOZE-bingeing rich women who put their health at risk need more help to cut down on their drinking, a leading city-based charity claimed today.
Research has shown that women from Merchiston are among the heaviest drinkers in Britain, with 66 per cent – more than double the UK average – consuming more than the recommended units per day.
The findings, published by market research firm CACI, have led to calls for the NHS to do more to target more affluent drinkers across the Lothians.
Karen Bradford, project manager with Rose Street-based drug and alcohol recovery charity Sorted, said that while help was close at hand for those in poor areas, it was often harder for the middle class to seek out.
She said: “In areas of deprivation, great work is being done. But at the other end, there needs to be more.
“We do recognise this as a problem. You have women who drink with colleagues after work, at dinner in the evening, at functions and at the weekends. Because it’s normalised, a lot are not realising they have a problem.
“A bottle of wine has become fuel for superwomen. A lot are in professional roles, have families, homes and jobs to hold down, and no-one is going to be surprised they’re drinking more, to smooth out the jagged edges.
“They [NHS and the city council] opened a recovery hub in Craigmillar, which is great for people in that area. But it’s unlikely someone from Merchiston is going to know about it, let alone go.”
Ms Bradford said that routes to recovery, such as through the criminal justice system or health services, were often harder to come by for the well-off and said more could be done to raise awareness of alcohol abuse in professional workplaces.
Statistics published last week showed that almost 16,500 people from the most deprived areas of Scotland were discharged from hospital with an alcohol-related diagnosis over the course of 2011-12, compared with 2598 in the poshest, despite statistics to show the wealthy are typically heavy drinkers.
Jim Sherval, a specialist in public health with NHS Lothian, said that 80 per cent of the Edinburgh population lives within 400 metres of a booze retailer and called for action on price, availability and marketing of alcohol.
He said: “This data shows how important it is for everyone in Edinburgh to drink less alcohol. NHS Lothian provides a range of services to help people tackle the reasons behind their alcohol use, such as alcohol brief interventions, tailored advice and support, counselling, detoxification and rehabilitation.”
Sandra Dick – Page 19