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alcohol health alliance uk

Alcohol-related deaths still a cause for concern for the North East

Posted 29/01/13

New figures released today (Tuesday 29th January) have shown that the North East continues to have some of the highest rates for alcohol-related deaths in England.

The North East has the second highest rate for both males and females in England. And despite a slight reduction in male deaths in the past year, the rate for males continues to be almost twice as high as it is for females.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in the North East:

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “Although we welcome any reduction in alcohol-related deaths, which we’ve seen in North East males, these figures demonstrate our region continues to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. It is seriously damaging our region’s health and our resources and effective measures need to be taken.

We remain one of the highest rates for both males and females in England and we’ve seen an astonishing leap in alcohol related deaths over the last two decades. We need to reverse this trend.

“People are dying because alcohol is far too cheap. They’re dying because alcohol is available on nearly every street corner at all hours of the day and night. They’re dying because alcohol is also far too heavily promoted.

“With the consultation on alcohol set to close at the beginning of February, we look to the Government to introduce targeted measures that will reduce the impact alcohol continues to have in the North East – and across the rest of the UK. This includes a minimum price per unit, which needs to be set at a realistic level that will make a real difference.

“We know that the more affordable alcohol is, the more people consume. A minimum unit price of at least 50p will make cheap, strong alcohol less affordable to the vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink it and suffer the consequences. It will have no effect on the price of a pint in a community pub.”

Research carried out by the University of Sheffield indicates that after ten years, every year in England a minimum 50p per unit will:

It estimates that moderate drinkers could be expected to pay just 28p a week extra on their weekly alcohol bill for these benefits, if a minimum 50p per unit were introduced.

Moderate drinkers stay within the recommended daily limits of no more than 2-3 units, or a standard glass of wine, for a woman and 3-4 units, or a pint and a half of regular strength beer, for a man. Drinking at or above these limits on a daily, or almost daily basis, increases the risk of a range of health conditions including cancer and stroke.

Colin added: “For a few extra pennies a week, we can help reduce the number of people being admitted to the region’s hospitals due to alcohol, as well as cut crime and protect our children.

Colin added: “It would only cost a moderate drinker a few pennies each week. When you consider how many lives this could save, and the reduction in crime and hospital admissions, we believe it’s a small price to pay.”