'Action over alcohol prices in Nottingham won't stop the big drinkers knocking back strong booze'
As Nottingham searches for solutions to its alcohol problems, Chris Breese and Emily Winsor asked problem drinkers what they drink – and if price is the problem
GO in almost any off licence or supermarket in Nottingham with £4 and you can leave with a bottle of cider containing enough alcohol to exceed a man's recommended daily limit for a week.
This is what a Post survey of several city centre shops showed yesterday.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Our test came the day after city health experts called for minimum pricing on drink to curb the city's addiction to strong booze. They say cheap strong booze including cider is often fuelling the addiction of the city's worst alcoholics.
But problem drinkers claim any national minimum price per unit law would make little difference.
Alastair Wilson, who has drunk heavily for 10 years, said how much money he has affects how much he buys, but for alcoholics with serious problems, where there's the will there's the way.
The 26-year-old, of Aspley, said: "People will just find the money to get it anyway.
"If someone wants to drink like they are an alcoholic it won't stop them, they'll just go out robbing.
"I will drink anything really – cider because it gets you a bit ratted. I'm trying to drink less but the environment I'm in – I've lost my grandad, my uncle, my auntie's partner, recently – has made me go off the rails. I drink every day – how much depends on the money."
He says he is going to see his doctor about his drinking and will buy alcohol from shops and supermarkets.
He added: "I don't think there is anything they can do with the law to make people drink less."
Although he admits to believing he is an alcoholic, he says he is against street drinking in the city centre. He added: "I do it because it chills me out and makes me forget about my problems."
Peter Briggs, 28, who lives in London Road, says he drinks about seven litres of 7.5 per cent alcohol cider a day and has tried to stop.
He said: "A minimum price will bring crime up because some alcoholics are going to go out and want to drink anyway."
He says he ended up drinking at this level after lapsing into drinking every day and admits he is an alcoholic.
"I'm not bothered about quitting. I don't feel like I'm ready, my mindset is not right. At some point I will be ready. I've had gaps in between but most of the time I am a constant drinker.
"I'll know I'm ready when I know I've got a conscience and I'll think then 'yeah, I can't be doing this any more'. It's rotting away my liver and pancreas and I know there's a problem."
Last April, as part of efforts to get the city back on the wagon, NHS Nottingham City opened the Last Orders service. It provides a one-stop shop for anyone who is worried about their drinking, based at the 8 till 8 Health Care Centre in Upper Parliament Street.
Anyone can walk in without an appointment and get a consultation on the day, with 1,600 people visiting in the first 12 months.
Caroline Thomson, who manages the service, said: "We see everyone from someone sitting at home drinking too much wine to people who already have very serious health problems. We see people bringing in relatives who are completely yellow because they have end stage liver disease and we have to call an ambulance straight away."
Recently, she says, a 23-year-old woman approached the service for help. But her problem was already so severe she died of end stage liver disease.
Ms Thomson added: "We've been surprised by the complexity of it but pleased that people who are just drinking at home every night are accessing the service."
Anyone concerned about their drinking can contact the Last Orders service on 0115 9709590 or call at the 8 till 8 Health Care NEMS building in Upper Parliament Street.