PEOPLE in Wiltshire are being asked to have their say on the effects of drinking alcohol, by joining in the Big Drink Debate.

Wiltshire Council wants to develop a new approach to promoting the healthier use of alcohol and has launched an interactive web-based survey with questions about people’s current knowledge of alcohol and the impact it has.

There are more than 4,200 dependent drinkers (aged 18 – 75 years) in Wiltshire and 26 per cent of the population are classified as drinking at ‘increasing’ or ‘higher’ risk levels, according to figures provided by the North West Public Health Observatory The county has a greater proportion of higher risk drinkers (6 per cent) compared to the South West average of 4.7 per cent and 104 people in Wiltshire died from chronic liver disease between 2008 and 2010.

As well as the online survey there is a paper version available to ensure everyone has a chance to contribute.

Among other questions, the survey asks where people normally buy alcohol, their knowledge of the alcohol content of many popular drinks, and where they would go for help if they or somebody they knew needed help with their drinking.

The Big Drink Debate will help to inform and shape the new Wiltshire Alcohol Strategy.

In November, a Forum will be held where people can share their views in person.

Keith Humphries, cabinet member for public health said: “This is a great opportunity to engage and involve the public in the discussion about alcohol and its effects. I encourage everyone to get involved as it’s a subject which can have positive and negative impacts on us all.”

Maggie Rae, corporate director said: “Alcohol plays a significant part in many people’s social lives, but we know that excessive drinking causes many problems in our communities. We want to find out people’s views on ways of reducing harmful drinking to help inform a new strategy for tackling problems associated with alcohol.

“This is an excellent opportunity to let us know your views and help us to get a balanced picture of people’s understanding of the impact of alcohol across Wiltshire.”

You can have your say by going to