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Older drinkers need better alcohol advice

Newcastle University academics have called for changes to the recommended safe levels of drinking for over 65s and for special alcohol advice to be made available for older people.

It follows research from Newcastle and Sunderland Universities looking at why many older people continue to drink to levels which are harmful to their health.

Current recommended safe levels of drinking are 14 units a week for women and 21 for men.

Heavy drinking in this age group is strongly linked with depression and anxiety and longer term health problems. Metabolism is slower in later life, and older people are very likely to take prescribed medicines that can interact with alcohol.

Late night levy on bars in York?

Bars in York could be charged extra for late night drinking Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Pubs and bars in York could be charged a levy for late night opening. City councillors will decide whether to press ahead with public consultations on the scheme. It would affect bars which serve alcohol between midnight and 6am.

The proposal has been prompted by a change in the law. The money would be spent on night time policing and other measures to reduce anti-social behaviour.

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Full Report: Newcastle City Council cracks down on late-night drinking

We have all seen pictures of people who drink too much on nights out and end up causing problems.

Cities like Newcastle are famous for their nightlife, but the council is concerned about the high levels of drinking.

Newcastle City Council is asking bars and clubs to stop selling very cheap drinks and giving away alcohol on very cheap promotions.

It has also announced that it will not be letting new nightclubs stay open later than 2am.

Our reporter Lucy Taylor joined Pam and Ian in the studio to explain more.

Lottery fund boosts alcohol misuse project

Young women and teenagers at risk of alcohol misuse will be helped by a new project which has received a £241,708 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

It is one of five projects across the region and 62 nationally to share a total of £14.9 million from the Reaching Communities programme.

Bright Futures will work with 720 young women aged 11 to 25 in South Tyneside by encouraging a shift in attitude and behaviour towards healthy choices and positive activities at weekends and evenings.

The project will educate young women on the effects of alcohol misuse, risks to sexual health and aims to reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

It will provide activities on evenings and weekends, when alcohol is being consumed on the streets, such as dancing, art, and cooking.

"Young people, particularly those from deprived areas, can misuse alcohol for a number of reasons - whether it is out of a lack of aspiration, little hope for the future or in a misguided attempt to relieve boredom in their lives.

"Bright Futures will steer young women in South Tyneside away from such risky behaviour and towards more positive activities to put them on a better path."

– Tessa Wiley, Big Lottery Fund spokeswoman

"This significant grant means that Bright Futures can now extend our reach across South Tyneside to make a real difference to the young women we will work with.

"Bright Futures has been working with a number of young women through our pilot project last year which was also funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

"This grant will enable us to offer young women in South Tyneside safe and interesting things to do on evenings and weekends, the opportunity to take part in accredited programmes of work and work with others in the community as well as improved access to education, training and employment."

– Nicola Common, Project development worker

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North East study finds Irish are "compelled" to drink on St Patrick's Day

Irish people may feel compelled to drink alcohol to celebrate St Patrick's Day, whether they want to or not, a North East study has revealed.

Even those normally teetotal will feel duty-bound to drink as alcohol is romanticised in Irish culture, according to Northumbria lecturer Matthew Kearney.

Mr Kearney's research found that everyone who took part in the research celebrated St Patrick's Day and many used up credit cards and borrowed from friends and family to support the celebrations.

Even those who said they were teetotal the rest of the year felt compelled to drink alcohol to celebrate St Patrick's - a day when it is estimated that more than 13 million pints of Guinness will be drank around the world.

"Alcohol consumption, when placed in the context of Ireland, becomes instantly romanticised, attributed to one's underlying Celtic soul.

"Ireland is synonymous with alcohol; although Ireland boasts world heritage sites, Titanic museums and the birth sites of numerous authors and poets, its most popular tourist attraction is the Guinness Storehouse.

"When Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip make a point of publicly enjoying a Guinness experience while visiting Ireland, it starts to become even more apparent that alcohol consumption is so completely intertwined with 'Irishness'."

– Mr Kearney, from Coleraine in Northern Ireland

Gazza on his way home

Friends close to Paul Gascoigne say that he is on his way home after spending the past month at an Arizona rehab centre.

The former footballer checked into the Cottonwood Clinic to get treatment for alcohol addiction.

A number of celebrities have helped fund the £7500 a week rehabilitation programme.

Paul Gascoigne is said to be on his way back to England from America Credit: ITV
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