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alcohol health alliance uk

Smoking, drinking and drug use Balance responds

Posted 26/07/12

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “It’s good news that fewer young North Easterners are choosing to drink. Young people and their parents deserve credit for this, especially in a society where pocket money prices, widespread availability and heavy marketing have established drinking as a social norm.

“However, we could do better. The North East still has the highest rates of young people who have ever drunk alcohol and who drank last week. Worryingly, they are England’s heaviest young drinkers – consuming, on average, at the upper end of the Government’s recommended weekly limits for a female adult. Health experts recommend that children enjoy an alcohol free childhood until at least the age of 15.

“More 11-15-year-olds in England have drunk alcohol than have smoked or taken drugs combined. Alcohol significantly increases the risk that our children will be victims of crime, will try drugs or have unprotected sex.

“We need to do more to protect them. A key part of the solution is the introduction of a minimum unit price, which the Government has backed and will consult on later this year. It’s a targeted measure which will increase the price of the cheapest, strongest alcohol – traditionally purchased by younger and heavier drinkers. We also know that consumption increases as price decreases and that young people are particularly sensitive to price increases.”