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alcohol health alliance uk

Alcohol related deaths and the General Lifestyle Survey

Posted 27/01/11

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Today’s statistics leave little doubt that in the North East we continue to have a significant problem with alcohol.

“Our region has the second highest regional rate of alcohol related deaths in the country, almost a third higher than the national average for men and more than a third higher for women.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report, released today (Thursday, January 27) reveals that between 1991 and 2009, there was a 159% increase in the number of alcohol related deaths in men from 111 to 287. Over the same period, the number of female deaths rose by 176% from 59 to 163. Nationally the increase has been 122% for men and 86% for women.

Responding to the ONS General Lifestyle Survey, also issued this morning, Colin said: “The lifestyle survey shows that average weekly consumption of alcohol is higher in the North East than any other English region and we have the highest proportion of adults exceeding the recommended limits on their heaviest drinking day in the previous week.”

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, launched its Drinking Causes Damage You Can’t See campaign earlier this month to increase public understanding of the Government’s recommended alcohol limits and the consequences of ignoring them. The recommended limits are 2-3 units a day for a woman and 3-4 units for a man. Drinking at or above these limits on a daily or almost daily basis, could store up future health problems including breast, throat and mouth cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Colin added: “Both reports emphasise that we require a wide-ranging strategy to tackle the problems caused by alcohol misuse in the North East. Not only should this include helping people understand, and stick to, recommended alcohol limits – it also requires action to increase the price and limit the availability of a super cheap and widely available legal drug that killed 450 people in the North East in 2009 alone.

”Earlier this month Government recognized that price affects the amount people drink when they said alcohol could not be sold below the cost of duty and tax. That measure would mean vodka could still be sold for £10.71 a litre, lager for 38p a can and wine for just over £2 a litre. They need to go further if they are serious about reducing the health harms and crime and disorder associated with alcohol misuse.”

The Drinking Causes Damage You Can’t See campaign is running until the end of February. North Easterners are invited to call 0191 261 3803 or visit www.balancenortheast.co.uk/harm to find out more and receive a free information booklet.

Balance will be visiting towns and cities across the North East next month to provide advice and hand out information. North Easterners will come face to face with a life sized x ray of a human body and shown the places where alcohol-related diseases such as strokes, heart attacks, dementia, as well as mouth, throat and liver cancer could strike.