New figures from Public Health England show almost a third of adults in the region are drinking at harmful levels – the highest figure for any English region.
The figures show over 30% of adults in the North East are drinking above the recommended drinking guidelines of 14 units a week for both men and women. This is compared to around one in four (25.7%) in the rest of the country.
The data shows that enough alcohol is being sold for every drinker in the North East to be consuming 21.7 units every week – more than seven units above the Chief Medical Officers’ recommended guidelines.
The findings also show the North East is the binge drinking capital of the country, with almost a quarter (22.9%) of adult drinkers binge drinking on their heaviest drinking day of the week.
The figures come ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, with health campaigners calling for a tax increase on high-strength white cider.
It’s very worrying that the North East is drinking at significantly higher levels than the rest of the country. Alcohol is linked to around 200 medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. "Drinking at these levels comes at a cost which can be seen by the fact that, despite recent improvements, we continue to have the highest rates of alcohol related hospital admissions in the country.
“We are very concerned by the high numbers of people drinking at these levels. Drinking above the UK’s chief medical officers’ guideline of 14 units (for both men and women) places you at increased risk of illnesses like cancer, heart disease and liver disease. “The fact that two-thirds of alcohol is being sold in the off-trade also means that people are able to drink at these levels very cheaply.