Stockton's Infinity Bridge

Experts come together to look at ways of reducing alcohol-related harm in the North East.

20 November 2013

Experts, politicians, public health practitioners, police and community workers come together to look at ways of reducing alcohol-related harm in the North East.

National and international experts are visiting the North East this week to talk about how we can reduce alcohol harms in this area of the country, following the Government’s decision to delay the introduction of Minimum Unit Price.  The conference, ‘Taking an evidence-based approach to reducing alcohol-related harm’, organised by Balance and the Association of North East Councils on 21 – 22 November, will look at how the North East can influence national policy and use local evidence-based measures to reduce the impact of alcohol in the North East.

The North East continues to have the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions, the highest rate of under-18 alcohol specific hospital admissions and the highest rate of under-18s in alcohol treatment in England.  Almost half of all violent crime is alcohol-related and alcohol harm is costing the North East economy approximately £1.1bn each year.  However, experts believe lives will be lost as a result of the Government’s decision to delay the introduction of MUP. 

The conference will provide an ideal opportunity for a wide range of people to learn from and input into the latest developments on minimum unit price and other evidence-based interventions.  Those attending include local politicians, council leaders, portfolio holders in the areas of health and community safety, directors of public health and their teams, senior police officers with a responsibility for alcohol, licensing experts from local authorities and the police, service providers; community leaders, the third sector and others with an interest in how we can reduce alcohol harm across the North East.

Chair of ANEC, Cllr Paul Watson, said: “We are delighted to welcome experts to the North East to give us further insight into ways of reducing alcohol-related harm. We have speakers from all parts of the world who will talk about how evidence-based interventions such as minimum unit price are working in practice and the huge benefits that can be gained from them.

“As we’re all aware we continue to see some of the highest levels of alcohol harms here in the North East.  This conference is an opportunity to put the health and wellbeing of our communities at the heart of policy.  We remain determined to work together in the North East to reduce the impact that alcohol continues to have on individuals, on families and on communities.”

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, added: “We know that if we are to see a reduction in alcohol misuse we need to introduce a package of measures that tackle the price, promotion and availability of alcohol. There is already a lot of good work going on across the region to reduce alcohol harm. However there is still a lot to do and we can hopefully build on the work we’ve already achieved here in the region and explore more ways we can reduce the impact of alcohol through an evidence-based approach.”