THOSE who take part in Dry January find they are still drinking less sixth months on, a study has found.

Balance, the North-East Alcohol Office, is encouraging drinkers who’ve taken part in Dry January to use the experience to help reduce their drinking all-year-round.

Around one in 10 drinkers planned to go alcohol-free for Dry January 2020 and, as the end of the month is approaching, those who have taken part may been feeling a number of benefits such as lower blood pressure, better sleep and losing weight.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “Dry January is becoming increasingly popular. As well as immediate benefits, taking time off alcohol can also help people re-set their relationship with alcohol and many people find they are still drinking less even six months later.

“If you’ve completed the month, or even just cut down, our message is that February can be about continuing those healthier habits rather than potentially reverting to a pattern of regular drinking.

"Most people feel a sense of pride and achievement and feel a lot fitter and healthier – that is something worth hanging on to.”

Last year, County Durham had the highest number of users of the Dry January app of any area in the country and the North-East as a region had the highest rate of sign ups.

Durham County Council has now joined forces with Balance again to highlight the benefits of an alcohol-free month and is supporting the campaign as part of the Better Health at Work scheme.

Councillor Lucy Hovvels MBE, Durham County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult and Health Services, said: “We all start the New Year with the best of intentions but sometimes it can be hard to stick to resolutions as the weeks pass by. If you have managed to cut out or reduce the amount of alcohol you have drunk this month, congratulations.

"This is a fantastic achievement and I’m sure you are already noticing the health and financial benefits of doing so. January may be nearly over, but that does not mean we have to stop making healthy choices when it comes to alcohol. With Balance’s help, we can continue to reap the rewards of Dry January throughout the year.”

Alcohol Change, the charity behind the national initiative, runs