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Half of North Easterners suffering due to others drinking

Strong public support for higher alcohol taxes to help fund public services

Balance is calling for higher alcohol taxes to help fund public services

Posted 17/02/16

A new report published today (17 February) has revealed that more than half of people in the North East have suffered at least once due to someone else drinking alcohol in the last 12 months – with having a serious argument being the most common negative consequence.

The Balance report ‘The second hand harm of alcohol in the North East’, highlights the secondary impact that alcohol is having on people across the region. Balance surveyed 1,300 North East residents aged 18 or over on how the drinking behaviours of family, friends, colleagues and strangers impacted upon their lives. This includes emotional and physical harm, financial issues, relationship issues and property damage.

The report is released to coincide with Durham PCC’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Conference, which takes place today at The Durham Centre, Belmont, and addresses the impact of alcohol-related harms. Director of Balance Colin Shevills, is speaking at the event alongside a packed line-up of speakers.

The report revealed:
• More than half of people (57%) living in the North East, or around 1.2 million individuals aged 18 and over, have suffered at least once due to the drinking of others in the last 12 months.

• 31% have suffered at least one negative consequence as a result of the heavy drinking of someone known to them. The most common negative consequence experienced as a result of other people’s drinking was that of ‘having a serious argument that did not include physical violence’, with 23% reporting this to have happened at least once.

• 45 per cent had suffered at least one negative consequence as a result of the drinking of someone not known to them. The most common negative consequence experienced as a result of an unknown drinker was that of ‘being kept awake at night by noise of others’, with 25% reporting this to have happened at least once.

• Almost one in four people (23%) have been verbally abused at work at least once by an unknown drinker in the last 12 months.

• Almost one in five (18%) have been harassed/afraid/felt unsafe on the street or in a public place at least once by an unknown drinker in the last 12 months.

• The 18-44 age groups were at least four times more likely than the 65+ group to experience at least one negative consequence as a result of the drinking of known heavy drinkers or unknown drinkers.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “There is an obvious awareness of the harm that alcohol can have on individuals but we also need to tackle the impact that drinking alcohol can have on others – the second hand harms. This is a real issue which we also need to address.

“I’m sure many of us can recall an instance when someone else’s drinking has affected us in some way. We can’t just accept this as the ‘norm’ – no one should have to suffer the second hand harms of alcohol.

“To truly make a difference we need to see a package of measures put in place to tackle the problems caused by alcohol that is too cheap, too widely available and too heavily promoted.

"We need the Government to support a range of targeted, evidence-based measures such as increasing the price of the cheapest, strongest alcohol products, which has been shown to save lives, reduce hospital admissions, cut crime and lessen the financial burden alcohol places on frontline services. It will also reduce the impact of second hand harm.”

Read the full report below.

Further reading

17 February 2016

The second hand harm of alcohol in the North East

Alcohol related harms are most commonly considered in terms of the impact that they have on the individual consuming the alcohol. However, they can also...

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