People who misuse alcohol

People who misuse alcohol

Alcohol misuse is an increasing problem for Northumberland. It impacts, not only the health and wellbeing of the individual drinker, but also on families, society through crime disorder, accidents and injury, sexual and other risk taking behaviours and escalating costs to health and social care.

More details about these headline statistics are available in:
  • the NHS North of Tyne strategic health needs assessment 2009/10
  • the recently completed needs assessment for alcohol treatment and prevention services in Northumberland
  • Northumberland drug and alcohol action team’s young people’s needs assessment November 2009
  • Northumberland drug and alcohol action team’s adult drug treatment plan 2009/10


Excessive and inappropriate drinking leads to crime and social disorder, particularly youth disorder, with increased demand on police and other support services. Hazardous and harmful drinking in the home is widespread and damaging to health and wellbeing of individuals and families, and needs to be better understood.

Alcohol misuse has been highlighted as a priority for development, action and funding within the NHS North of Tyne strategic plan. It has also been selected as a key health outcome within the world class commissioning assurance process.
The drug and alcohol action team (DAAT) has a clear responsibility to plan, commission and monitor interventions to combat these issues in Northumberland.

Tackling substance misuse is a key cross cutting theme within the refreshed children and young people’s plan.

Key messages

  • problems caused by alcohol use in Northumberland impact on a wide range of agencies and activities
  • the health problems associated with alcohol have been steadily increasing with rises in hospital admissions for both alcohol-related and alcohol-attributable conditions
  • unless interventions are put in place to reduce alcohol related harm, hospital admissions are likely to continue rising
  • these rises are seen across Northumberland with a particularly high rate in the south eastern part of the county
  • this has not affected adults as the number of children admitted to hospital for alcohol related conditions as also increased
  • the number of people receiving treatment by alcohol services appears to have remained constant over the last few years, this may well be an indication the services currently provided are running to capacity
  • crime related to alcohol has remained constant, however, this has to be viewed in the context of falling overall crime rates, which means that, as a proportion of recorded crime, alcohol-related crime is increasing
  • the number of motorists being tested for drink driving has declined, along with the relative rate of positive tests
  • alcohol misuse is the single most significant factor in young people’s  substance misuse in Northumberland
  • Northumberland needs to meet the accommodation needs of young people who misuse substances
  • resources need to be established to support young people’s and parent/carer’s engagement with designing services
  • need to find a better way of supporting parent/carers of young people who have problems with their substance misuse

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