The kit was the key element of a pilot campaign, which was developed in partnership with Berkshire Public Health and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee, and ran in 151 Berkshire pharmacies during Alcohol Awareness Week 2013.
The kit was designed to support consumers in reappraising, measuring and cutting back their alcohol consumption and contained an alcohol unit measure cup, calorie and unit wheel and information booklet.
Social research consultancy, Shared Intelligence independently evaluated the campaign and found that the kit proved useful to consumers in different ways. The cup made the link for consumers between their drinks and the number of units they contain. The wheel was used to measure calories in alcohol and the small booklet allowed people to keep track of how much they were drinking. As a result, people were prompted to reflect on their drinking, and for a significant number, the kit helped them reduce the amount of alcohol they were drinking.
The findings showed that:
- Over six in 10 users cut back on the number of alcohol units they drank
- Two-thirds (67%) cut down on the calories they consumed through alcohol
- Over half switched to lower-strength drinks
- 52% said the kit helped them reduce the number of days they drank on
- Four in five respondents (79%) said that they had started keeping better track of their drinking after using the kit
Pharmacists reported finding the kit really helpful for starting conversations with customers about their drinking and appreciated being able to give their customers something practical to take away and use at home.
See what some of the pharmacists we spoke to said about the kit:
Dr Lisa McNally, Consultant in Public Health, Bracknell Forest Council, Berkshire, said about the campaign: “By joining forces with Drinkaware and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee we managed to deliver a truly innovative campaign. The kit brought a smile to people's faces and enabled us to give important information in a positive way. We are really pleased with the evaluation results and will continue to build on this work in our local area.”
Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead commented: “It is important that people have the information they need to make sensible decisions about their alcohol intake, and particularly the health impacts of excessive drinking. I welcome these efforts to raise awareness of this issue and to promote healthy living, and I hope that we will see further progress in Berkshire in the coming years.”
Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell, commented: “In my view, alcohol is the drug doing the most damage to society. I was pleased to learn of the success of Drinkaware’s pilot alcohol education programme which has been implemented across Berkshire, including in Bracknell. Any initiative which encourages responsible drinking gets my full support.”
Drinkaware is working to explore how the kit can evolve in the future and which other distribution channels have potential. The test kit isn’t currently available but the key elements - the unit cup and the calorie wheel - are available to order.
We'd would like to thank all of those involved with the campaign including Berkshire Public Health, Berkshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee, the participating pharmacies and public.