1. ITV Report

Drinking scratchcards released

It's hoped the campaign will help thousands cut down - and save millions of pounds in healthcare costs. Photo:

Pharmacists across the capital will begin handing out scratchcards from today, which are designed to make people re-consider the amount they drink.

Customers will be asked to scratch off panels, based on their alcohol consumption - and the results can then be used as the basis of an informal chat with the pharmacist.

More than two million Londoners are currently endangering their health, through their level of drinking.

  • In the last year, more than two and a half million Londoners drank alcohol at levels that can damage their health.
  • More than a million and a half ended up in hospital because they've drunk too much.
  • The London Ambulance service were called once every eight minutes because of alcohol.
  • Alcohol misuse claimed the lives of 1,700 Londoners last year.

300,000 scratch-cards will be issued in up to 500 London pharmacies to encourage customers to consider their alcohol intake.

Top tips for safe and responsible drinking over Christmas and the New Year:

  • If you're going out, don't drink on an empty stomach, avoid drinking more than you are used to and avoid drinking so much that you get drunk.
  • Know your limits. Remember that everyone has a difference tolerance level, so don't try and keep up with your friends. Some people (including young people, those with smaller builds and women) may experience the effects of alcohol after drinking smaller amounts.
  • Plan transport home - pre-booking licensed taxis when appropriate - and never drink and drive. Try out some of the licensed black cab booking applications like GetTaxi.
  • Remember alcohol can affect actions and reactions. Be careful and never leave drinks unattended.
  • Stay hydrated - drink a pint of water before you start drinking, and avoid using alcohol to quench your thirst. Have a soft drink instead.
  • Go for smaller sizes, and cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle.
  • Aim to have at least two drink free days a week
  • Tell friends and family you're cutting down, so they can support you.
  • Keep track of how much you're drinking during the week by keeping a diary. You can download tools to help you track your drinking, online at: www.nhs.uk/alcohol.