The North East has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in England for 20 years, new figures show.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that alcohol-related deaths among women in the North East stand at 15.1 deaths per 100,000, compared to an England average of 9.1 deaths.
This means the North East rate is 66 per cent higher than the national female rate. Tragically, many of those deaths occur in working age women.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “It is tragic that more women in the North East died from alcohol-related causes in 2014 than in any other year over the last two decades.
“Alcohol is a poison, yet, as these figures reveal, far too many people remain unaware of the serious damage it can to do.
“The alcohol industry spends millions in promoting their product, with young women often the target. It is time to fight back.
“People have a right to know the health risks of alcohol – even at low levels of consumption – so they can make informed choices about how much they choose to drink. The introduction of new recommended drinking guidelines earlier this year is a welcome step forward but clearly much more needs to be done.
“If we want enable people to make truly informed decisions about how much they drink and hopefully reduce the number of needless deaths from alcohol, then the Government needs to introduce compulsory health warning labels on alcohol products and alcohol advertising and to adequately fund mass media campaigns that make clear the very serious risks people face.”
The true number of deaths are likely to be much higher as these figures do not include deaths from drink driving, suicides, violence and a range of cancers.
While male rates of death remain significantly higher, the new figures show that more women in the North East suffered an alcohol-related death in 2014 than in any previous year in the ONS data.
Three times the number of women have died from alcohol-related causes compared to 20 years ago. This is an equivalent increase of 175 per cent in the female death rate.
The North East has also seen a rise in the number of male alcohol-related deaths, with more than twice as many men dying in 2014 than in 1994, an equivalent increase of 95 per cent in the male death rate.
The region has the second highest rate of alcohol-related male deaths in England.
The report also highlighted that 55 per cent of males and 56 per cent of females who die from alcohol-related causes in England are below the age of 60.