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Major new report reveals what we think about drink

Colin Shevills, of Balance.
Colin Shevills, of Balance.

Eight in 10 North-Easterners think the UK’s relationship with alcohol is ‘unhealthy’, a major new report has revealed.

And nearly six out of ten (58 per cent) also believe the Government isn’t 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 report into the state of the region when it comes to the North East’s relationship with alcohol.

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

Key findings also include:

Over half (54%) of those surveyed would support the introduction of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol with only 19% objecting.

71% of people believe the Government should be responsible for communicating the health risks and harms associated with alcohol.

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

Over one in four drinkers (26%) 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. Worryingly 84% of people drinking more than 14 units consider themselves “light” or “moderate” drinkers.

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

75% would strongly welcome reductions in the drink drive limit supporting a move to the same limit which now applies in Scotland.

More than six in 10 believed that the industry should pay for reducing alcohol harm.

67% agreed that children should be protected from alcohol advertising and marketing.

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 underestimate the risks we take by drinking above the recommended weekly drinking guidelines.”