Alcohol abuse rolled out region-wide

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A GROUND-breaking project aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and the damage it causes is being rolled out across the North East.

Covering Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside, the Alcohol Behaviour Change (ABC) scheme started as a pilot and is being expanded due to its success.

Its rollout is being launched today. The
scheme is a partnership between Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Northumbria Police, Turning Point, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service and Safe Newcastle.

The trust’s treatment effectiveness and governance manager for addiction services, Margaret Orange, said: “The scheme works a little like a driver awareness course.

“If you are stopped by police, you would normally be handed a £90 fixed-penalty notice for low-level alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

“However, this is reduced to £45 if the person attends the ABC course.

“The purpose of the course is to reduce alcohol intake by educating people about the impact alcohol has on their behaviour and their health.

“Independent research showed that people who attended the course had a reoffending rate of just two per cent, compared to five per cent among those who did not attend the course.

“There have been a significant number of people who have attended the course who had little understanding of the impact of alcohol on their health and wellbeing.”

Since the pilot was launched in 2012, 348 people have attended the course.