A RECOVERING alcoholic is trying to set up a help group to fill what he perceives to be a gap in the provision of support for people battling alcoholism in the region.
And his bid to help overcome thier drink problem before it starts costing the police and NHS money has been welcomed by Humberside Police.
When Steve Keane, 61, retired from his job in a bank five years ago he openly admits to having “hit the bottle” which triggered a downward spiral of behaviour.
But Steve told the Driffield Times & Post an encounter with the police was the shock factor he needed to kick his addiction and now he wants to help others do the same.
“What people want is somebody who has been there and done it themselves,” said Steve.
Describing the provision of support for alcoholics in the East Riding as “abysmal” Steve is already helping a handful of people at weekly meetings in Beverley, and he is now on the hunt for a venue in Driffield.
The ‘SMART recovery’ meetings offer motivational guidance and support to people battling substance dependency.
Steve started up the meetings on a voluntary basis after his own quest for help several years ago left him frustrated at the limited options available.
“When I tried to beat it I thought what support is there in the East Riding? There isn’t any support really and what people need is long term help,” said Steve.
“For some people Alcoholics Anonymous is fine if it works for them, but if they don’t like that there’s nothing else,” he added.
And Steve hopes the new groups will help save the police and NHS money in the long run.
“How much does detox cost? How much does A&E cost? If we can stop six people a year from going into re-hab it’s going to save the local authorities and the NHS a fortune,” he said.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre the number of hospital admissions wholly attributable to alcohol rose nationally from 45,000 in 2002/3 to 68,400 in 2009/10.
In Yorkshire and Humber the number of NHS hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis wholly or partly attributable to alcohol stood at almost 20,000 in 2009/10.
And it has been estimated that the cost of alcohol harm to the NHS in England is £2.7 billion a year.
“It’s killing a lot of people. People aren’t aware of how many deaths alcohol causes,” Steve said.
The latest figures from the Office For National Statistics have shown that in 2010 there were 8,790 alcohol-related deaths in the UK, 126 more than in 2009 - of which 42 were in the East Riding.
“A lot of people when they have problems with alcohol are not binge drinkers on a Saturday night. They are people who do it behind closed doors and they are probably a bit reluctant to turn to their GP or a group,” Steve said.
“They can come to a group and draw on the strength and support of other people or they can talk to somebody over the phone, in a public place or by text message,” he added.
Inspector David Braysmith, who is in charge of Public Order and Violent Crime for the East Riding, said Humberside Police would support any scheme designed to reduce the negative impact alcohol has on individuals and communities.
“We see only too frequently the harmful effects of alcohol in relation to disorder and violence on our streets and within the home.
“Reducing alcohol related violence is a high priority for us and our partners. The benefits of achieving reductions in this area would be felt in relation to recorded crimes - meaning less victims of violence and less disorder within our communities but could also lead to reduced pressure on other emergency services and the NHS and improvements in public health.”
For more information about SMART Recovery call Steve on 07821490694.