Town’s binge drinking worse than average

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NEW figures reveal the extent of alcohol abuse in Hartlepool.

Between October 2010 and September 2011 there were 12 Drinking Banning Orders and 2,454 alcohol-related arrests in Hartlepool, a rise of 3.7 per cent from the year before.

The figures were included in the Safer Hartlepool Partnership adult substance misuse plans for 2012-13, recently backed by cabinet.

Local estimates suggest there are up to 5,000 dependent drinkers in the town and more than 20,000 people who are at times drinking irresponsible levels outside the guidelines.

Incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour peak during the weekend with the majority coming between 9pm and 4am, which officers say shows a link to the night-time economy.

The cabinet report said overall alcohol consumption levels in Hartlepool are comparable to the North-East average but binge drinking rates are “significantly worse” than the national average.

Speaking before the meeting, Chris Hart, drug and alcohol manager from Safer Hartlepool Partnership, said: “Around £400,000 has been invested to address alcohol problems in Hartlepool and during 2010-11 nearly 400 people accessed support.

“The services provided include specialist prescribing, community detoxification, counselling and a range of aftercare and relapse prevention group work projects, as well as specific initiatives working with offenders to reduce alcohol induced crime.

“In addition, from April 2012 services will be extended to include a family service in recognition of the harm caused to families and children through irresponsible drinking”.

Speaking during the meeting, Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “Governments have had it wrong with alcohol.

“They have not recognised that it is a big problem.

“There has never been any funding for any kind of alcohol services for years and years.

“Luckily we have put some of the drugs money into alcohol, but it has never been enough.”

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