More than 100,000 in Suffolk have alcohol problem

Shocking statistics today reveal the grim reality of an escalating alcohol abuse problem in Suffolk.county are mildly dependent on alcohol.

SUFFOLK: Shocking statistics today reveal the grim reality of an escalating alcohol abuse problem in Suffolk.

Figures, released by the charity NORCAS which re-launches today, show that more than 90,000 people in Suffolk are hazardous drinkers and more than 24,000 people in the county are mildly dependent on alcohol.

The number of referrals for those with drink problems has risen dramatically in the past year and the fact is there are many more out there who have not yet sought help and are continuing to suffer in silence.

Drug taking and out-of-control gambling are also concerning issues for Suffolk, with 4,000 people seeking help for gambling and 3,800 drug addicts receiving treatment.

NORCAS, East Anglia's largest independent charity which helps those who misuse drugs, alcohol and gambling, is encouraging people to take advantage of its range of services, which includes one to one counselling, group sessions and outreach work.

John Hall, NORCAS Suffolk's area manager, said: “It is very clear that any such dependency is often shrouded in secrecy and that there is a sense of shame. Others may not realise just how dependent they have become. Evidence shows that the numbers of people who do come forward for treatment and help is, very clearly, not the totality of the numbers of people who really do need help. This is why at NORCAS we are committed to providing a full range of services throughout Suffolk and Norfolk, so that people who need help can access vital support near to where they live.”

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Mark, 43, from Ipswich, began drinking when he was 15 but it was only a few months ago that he started getting help from NORCAS.

He said: “There were issues from my early childhood that made me start drinking. When I was drinking a lot, I didn't trust my family and covered my drinking up. It crept up on me. I never dealt with it and it took me a while to realise I had a problem.”

While in prison, he realised he had to change and later joined an Alcoholics Anonymous group and got help from NORCAS in Ipswich.

He added: “I am seeing my children now and appreciating the smallest things in life. I now feel I have a chance in life.”

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