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Dangers of alcohol put under spotlight

DRINK MESSAGE ... Christine Howey, of the Northern Engagement into Recovery from Addiction Foundation, centre, with, from left, Pc Kirsty Silcock, Pc Greg Johnson, Coun Allan West and Dan Dobson, of the North East Council on Addictions.

DRINK MESSAGE ... Christine Howey, of the Northern Engagement into Recovery from Addiction Foundation, centre, with, from left, Pc Kirsty Silcock, Pc Greg Johnson, Coun Allan West and Dan Dobson, of the North East Council on Addictions.

RESIDENTS of South Tyneside were given a chance to chat about drinking at a series of events held as part of Alcohol Awareness Week.

The week, organised by national charity Alcohol Concern, saw South Tyneside Council and its partners set up information stalls and trailers at venues around the borough.

There were also alcohol awareness sessions in secondary schools and youth venues.

Alcohol Concern wants people to know about the health risks, social problems, stigmas and taboos associated with alcohol.

Coun Allan West, the council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “There is a clear link between excessive alcohol consumption and cancer and heart disease, which are the main illnesses contributing to lower life expectancy in parts of the borough.

“In general, people have no problem talking about drinking, but the aim of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week was to encourage them to discuss the risks and dangers associated with drinking too much.

“It was also an opportunity to remind people where they can get help.”

The council’s Trading Standards team reminded adults that it is an offence to buy alcohol for children.

The team works closely with Northumbria Police and off-licences to tackle sales of alcohol to youngsters.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “There is a trend for children to approach adults outside off-licences and ask them to buy alcohol on their behalf.

“This is an offence and could leave the adult responsible facing a court appearance, heavy fine and a criminal record. Underage drinking is not only linked to anti-social behaviour but also damages the health and wellbeing of those consuming the alcohol.

“Our message is simple – if you are approached say ‘no’.”

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