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Figures reveal impact of alcohol on young people in the North East

Posted 27/11/14

Almost 900 North Easterners have died from alcoholic liver disease in a three-year period – and more than 1 in 10 were under 40.

Figures released today (Thursday 27th November) by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, reveal that 863 people died from the condition between 2010 and 2012 in the region.

Further research also published for the first time today highlights a rise in hospital admissions in the North East for young people with alcohol-related liver disease between 2002/03 and 2012/13. 
 
It shows a 322% increase in hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease in North Easterners under 30 – compared to a national increase of 67%. 
Admissions for 30 to 34-year-olds has also risen by 319% – the England increase was 68%.
 
Balance’s findings come as a major new Lancet Commission calls for radical improvements to address the growing number of deaths from liver disease.
 
The report, which has been led by doctors and medical scientists from across the UK, claims that tougher government policies are needed to control excessive alcohol use, as well as improvements in treatment and detection services.
 
One of the key recommendations from The Lancet report’s authors calls for the introduction of minimum unit pricing, health warnings on alcohol packaging and restriction of alcohol advertising and sales to tackle the problem.
 
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “These latest figures are shocking and highlight the scale of the problem we face here in the North East. This needs to be addressed sooner rather than later and that’s why we are urging Government to sit up and take note of the recommendations in The Lancet report if it wants to make a lasting change.
 
“The report supports our long-term view that alcohol is too cheap, too available and too heavily promoted in today’s society. A range of evidence-based measures, such as those highlighted, would help address the harm that alcohol is having on our communities and would go some way to lessening pressures on the NHS. 
 
“The introduction of a minimum unit price would focus on the problems caused by cheap, high strength alcohol and on the most vulnerable and deprived who experience more harm, all while sparing moderate drinkers.
 
“We would also urge the Government to consider stricter guidelines around alcohol advertising and the introduction of health warnings on alcohol packaging.
 
“Liver disease is one of more than 60 medical conditions linked to alcohol – including seven different types of cancers. We recently launched our Think Twice campaign which focuses on raising awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer so people have the information they need to make informed choices about their alcohol intake.”
 
To find out more about alcohol and cancer and to watch the campaign videos, visit reducemyrisk.tv
 
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/balance.northeast and on Twitter @BalanceNE. Tweet us using #ThinkTwiceUK