EIGHT in 10 people in the North-East think the UK’s relationship with alcohol is “unhealthy”, a major report has revealed.

Nearly six out of ten (58 per cent) of people quizzed also believe the Government is not doing enough to tackle the problems society has with alcohol, such as ill health, violent crime, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.

“How We Drink, What We Think” was carried out by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, and is the first ever report into the “state of the region” when it comes to the North East’s relationship with alcohol.

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The findings in the report were collected through an online survey of 2,083 people living within the region. Key findings also include:

More than half (54 per cent) of those surveyed would support the introduction of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol with only 19 per cent objecting; l Seventy per cent of people believe the Government should be responsible for communicating the health risks and harms associated with alcohol;

Only 16 per cent of people were aware of the Chief Medical Officer’s drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units per week for men and women;

More than one in four drinkers (26 per cent) in the region are drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units per week for men and women;

83 per cent would support measures which would force alcohol companies into providing clear, legible alcohol consumption guidelines on labels.

The report finds people in the North East are more likely to say that the country has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol than people elsewhere in the country. They are also more likely to think the Government is not doing enough to tackle society’s problems with the drug or to provide help to those most in need, and more likely to closely associate a range of health issues and crime with alcohol use.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “This new report clearly shows that we have a problem with alcohol here in the North East and that the majority believe not enough is being done to tackle the harm that alcohol causes. Most people have a strong appetite to want to do something about it.

“It also shows that in the region we are better informed of the harms of alcohol than the country as a whole; yet worryingly many of us under-estimate the risks we take by drinking above the recommended weekly drinking guidelines.”

Both men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week in order to keep health risks from drinking to a low level according to the new Chief Medical Officers’ drinking guidelines.

The report highlights that 36 per cent of men in the region are drinking above the guidelines, while the figure for women is 16 per cent.

Mr Shevills added: “Encouragingly there is strong support in the region to want the Government to do more to tackle alcohol harm and North Easterners would support a range of measures – from health warning labels on bottles to the introduction of a minimum unit price – to tackle the issue.”

In 2015/16 alcohol was estimated to have cost the North East:

  • £209m in NHS and healthcare for services
  • £331m in crime and disorder; l £353m lost to local businesses and employers through absenteeism
  • £121m in costs to children and adults’ social services and substance misuse services.