Big fall in drinking

THE North-East is shedding its tag as the sick man of England thanks a drop in drinking levels.

Latest figures show 21 per cent of North-East men drank at least eight units of alcohol on one day in the last week, compared to 27 per cent in 2009 and 21 per cent in 2010. The corresponding English average was 18 per cent, 20 per cent and 19 per cent.

Colin Shevills, director of the North-East alcohol awareness group Balance, said: “The figures show that rates of alcohol consumption between 2009 and 2010 fell faster in the North-East than anywhere else in the country. This moves our region nearer to the English average and further away from our usual role as the sick man of England when it comes to alcohol misuse.

“However, while we welcome the General Lifestyle Survey 2010 findings, we would urge caution. Our significant success relates to a single year alone.

“We are still drinking greater amounts and more regularly than we were in 2005 and more than twice what we were consuming in 1950. There is a long way to go if we are to truly turn back the tide of alcohol misuse in the North East.”

The study also shows that, in cases of North-East women, nine per cent drank at least six units of alcohol in 2005, increasing to 17 per cent in 2009 before falling to 12 per cent in 2010.

The study from the Office for National Statistics also revealed that adults aged 45 and over were three times as likely as those aged under 45 to drink almost every day, younger adults were more likely to have drank heavily in the previous week than older adults, and those in managerial and professional roles were more likely to drink (and to consume more and more frequently) than routine and manual workers.