Plymouth plea: 'Don't let alcohol ruin New Year celebrations'
PARTYGOERS are being warned to avoid drinking too much on New Year's Eve.
NHS bosses are urging people to not let alcohol ruin their celebrations ahead of one of the busiest nights of the year.
Plymouth GP Dr Peter Rudge, who chairs the western locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Often at this time of year people head to pubs and clubs with their friends and many get carried away by drinking too much.
"This leads to people becoming more vulnerable than usual and puts them at risk of getting involved in fights, risky behaviour or being rushed to hospital with alcohol poisoning.
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"Ambulances and hospital emergency departments are already under great pressure during the winter and this is made worse when people are admitted to emergency departments with conditions caused by alcohol."
Pubs and clubs across the city are expected to be extremely busy on New Year's Eve, with thousands of people preparing to welcome 2013 in style.
But Dr Rudge says people should be aware of the effects of over-indulging.
"In the short term, drinking too much alcohol causes people to lose their inhibitions so they may put themselves in dangerous situations or do something they may later regret," he said.
"They may also fall and injure themselves while under the influence of alcohol.
"In the long term, regularly drinking more than the recommended guidelines can increase people's chances of certain types of cancer, memory loss, brain damage, certain types of stroke and heart and liver disease.
"So our simple message to people is to have fun, but to think before they drink too much this Christmas."
The NHS has issued a handy list of tips to bear in mind on the big night.
They include: eat before you go out; drink water or soft drinks regularly during the evening; take a break if you think the drink is hitting you too quickly; don't try to keep up with friends who drink more than you.
Police will be stepping up patrols to deal swiftly with drink-related incidents during the Christmas period.
Deputy Chief Constable David Zinzan said: "We want everyone to enjoy themselves when celebrating over Christmas and New Year.
"Whilst most people drink responsibly, there is a small minority who do not.
"Alcohol can dramatically change someone's behaviour which can often result in them doing something they may not do when sober.
"We are asking people to think about the consequences of excessive drinking before they begin their night out."