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Alcohol black spots to get help

6th November 2008

The Department of Health is to target 20 areas in England most blighted by alcohol problems as part of a £6.5 million initiative.

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The plan will feature a network of regional alcohol managers who will give advice as part of the cash boost which will endeavour to make specialist treatment easier to reach.

The money will come out of a £34m fund unveiled in June by Health Secretary Alan Johnson and intended to boost communities in disadvantaged areas.

The 20 primary care trust target areas are Ashton with Wigan and Leigh, Blackpool, Bolton, Darlington, East Lancashire, Heart of Birmingham, Knowsley, Leicester City, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Newham, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Tyneside, Nottingham City, Oldham, South Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent and Warrington.

While alcohol abuse has been identified as a major problem by government, in many areas help is difficult to get with only one place available for every 18 people with alcohol problems.

The 20 PCTs will share £3 million to address this directly, with £2 million spent on the regional alcohol managers, plus £500,000 for a national support team and £1m on a "learning centre" looking at success stories generated by the money.

Health minister Dawn Primarolo MP said: "We clearly have a serious problem that needs urgent attention."

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: "Slowly, but surely, local areas are now being provided with the tools they need to invest in alcohol treatment, the challenge will be for them to convert this into services on the ground for those who need it most."

 

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