One in five people harmed by somebody else’s drinking | UK News
One in five people in England have been harmed in the last year by somebody else’s drinking, a study suggests.
Almost one in 20 people have experienced aggression, including being physically threatened or hurt or being forced into sex by their partners.
More than 5,000 adults took part in the survey, and the most commonly reported harm was being kept awake at night – experienced by 8% of respondents.
Almost 7% said they had felt anxious or uncomfortable at a social occasion as a result of someone’s drinking.
The survey found men were slightly more likely to experience violence or aggression, but women were twice as likely as men to say they had suffered emotional harm or neglect.
Of those who were forced or pressurised into something sexual, 19% said this was at the hands of a stranger, while 40% said their partner was responsible.
The results of the survey have been published in the online journal BMJ Open.
Researchers form the Risk Factors Intelligence Team at Public Health England wrote: “The most prevalent harms could be considered insignificant, but even apparently minor harms such as sleep disruption can have an impact on health and quality of life, particularly if experienced persistently.
“Policies that focus on alcohol must take into consideration the impact of drinking on those other than the drinker.”
Paramedic Katie Morris, from the West Midlands Ambulance Service, sees injuries inflicted by people who are drunk on a regular basis.
She described treating a man in his 20s who had been hit with a baseball bat during a fight.
Ms Morris said: “He ended up with quite severe head injuries. There was quite a lot of blood at the time. And the chap that had done it was clearly intoxicated. We ended up having to assess both of them for the level of alcohol that they had in their system. So it can be really brutal depending on how much alcohol they’ve got in their system.”
Her colleagues, paramedics Jordan Rowley and Jane Davies, have been attacked by drunk patients.
Mr Rowley said: “We were called to a lady, she’d fallen off a barstool and hit her head on a cast iron radiator.
“She was punching, kicking me, my crewmate, the officer.”
They had to restrain her using the straps and the blanket on the stretcher in the ambulance.
He added: “I went home with nail marks on my arm where she’d latched on and was pulling me. Many of my colleagues have gone home with bruises and scratches and wounds.”
Ms Davies said they see people who are drunk on most shifts. She describes having to call the police when a patient turned on them.
She added: “We went into the kitchen where she was brandishing a four-inch kitchen blade pointing it towards her friend and then towards us and because of the level of alcohol she didn’t realise the risk she was putting us all in.”
Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, who campaigns to raise awareness of the impact on families of addiction, told Sky News: “It’s trying to reach out to those people who are using and abusing alcohol or addicted to alcohol that it is not all about them, it’s about the ripple effect on those around them – whether it is the husband, wife, children or wider circle of family members, any other significant person in their lives including their friends.
“What we have to remember here is that alcohol is a legal drug that has been destroying families for many, many years.”
Ms Burton-Phillips has urged for greater attention to be paid to the information put on labels for alcoholic beverages so the public are warned about the dangers of drinking too much.