A record number of people in the North East of England are turning to alcohol and plunging the region into an alcohol epidemic, latest figures reveal. The statistics show that more and more teenagers are in need of treatment for the alcohol consumption.
Last year, almost 300 children under the age of 14 and younger had to be treated for their alcohol problems. The figures have been released from the NHS England following a Freedom of Information request.
Alarmingly, around 26 children younger than 13 years of age from the North East of England region had at least one period of treatment for alcohol issues in 2014/15, with a further 82 13-year-olds and 184 14-year-olds also needing help.
And alcohol awareness campaigners say that cheap alcohol that is too widely available and too heavily marketed, is the cause of the epidemic.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance North East, said:
We know that in the North East we continue to suffer from some of the worst levels of alcohol harms. This is reflected in the fact that more people are being referred for treatment. Partners across the region are working extremely hard to tackle the issues we face.
More needs to be done to curb the numbers of people needing treatment from alcohol related issues in the first place, and the introduction of new CMO recommended [alcohol] guidelines based on strengthening evidence of the links between alcohol and cancer, is a welcome step forward.
The fact is that too many people are [using alcohol] too much too often and it is having a devastating impact on the region. This is driven by alcohol that is too cheap, too widely available and too heavily marketed.
We need the Government to implement evidence-based measures which tackle the price, promotion and availability of alcohol. This includes a minimum unit price which will protect the most vulnerable people in our society, including young people. Only then will we truly be able to tackle alcohol harms.”