Young in North most likely to have alcohol problems

A north-south divide in the prevalence of alcohol-related problems has been revealed by a new study.

Twice as many young people living in the North-east of England receive treatment for alcohol problems than in the rest of the country, according to figures from health campaign group Balance.

They show that 118 of every 100,000 under-18s in the North-east were treated for drink problems, which amounts to double the national average.

More than 600 of the 9,450 people receiving specialist alcohol treatment in the region in 2010-11 were under the age of 18, Balance said. The North-west has the second-highest rate with 99 under-18s out of 100,000 in treatment, followed by the East Midlands with 62 per 100,000.

Balance director Colin Shevills said: "Our region is drinking too much from an early age driven by alcohol which is too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted. Although the Government's alcohol strategy aims to turn the tide against binge drinking, it is weak on a clear strategy around the marketing and promotion of alcohol."

Nationally, an average of 59 young people out of every 100,000 have received treatment for alcohol problems.