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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Alcohol emergency pressure plans
Pint of beer
Alcohol-related illness is putting health services under pressure
Health services in Dumfries and Galloway are coming under pressure due to the level of emergency hospital admissions linked to drink and drugs.

More than 900 cases associated with alcohol are being recorded every year with a further 140 involving drugs.

Tackling the issue is seen as a key challenge in the NHS and council's joint health and community care plan.

Support services in the region are teaming up to try to help people with problems as early as possible.

Local health partnerships, better housing and work in schools to encourage a better lifestyle are all seen as having a part to play.

Research shows that the majority of cases involve people from deprived parts of the region.

Chairman of the region's health board John Ross said he hoped action being taken now would tackle the problem in the longer term.

'Real concern'

"Obviously it puts a strain on the service," he said.

He said that in busy periods people might have to join an emergency queue with those who have a problem due to "inappropriate behaviour".

"I think the real concern for the NHS would be if particularly young people are presenting with adverse effects of drink and drugs," said Mr Ross.

"That doesn't bode well for their future health.

"I believe that the effort we are jointly putting in to try and support young people who have got these types of problems will yield benefits in future."

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