Having a dry January? This is how many people in Sunderland are joining you

Almost 20,000 people in Sunderland are expected to quit drinking for Dry January this year.

Monday, 7th January 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:39 pm
Dry January. Picture by PA Images

Around one in 10 drinkers in the UK are planning to start the new year with an entire month of sobriety, according to the charity Alcohol Change UK.

That’s a grand total of 4.2 million people kicking their booze habit.

In Sunderland, an estimated 85% of adults drink alcohol, according to the most recent figures from Public Health England.

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This would mean around 19,000 drinkers could be planning to go cold turkey from New Year’s Day.

Alcohol Change UK, which runs the challenge, says those taking part can expect to feel healthier, save money, and improve their relationship with alcohol in the long term.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Put simply, Dry January can change lives.

“Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too.

“Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight. The list goes on.”

Alcohol abstinence is already fairly popular in Sunderland.

Approximately 15% of people say they live booze-free lives, in line with the England average.

However, the area has a higher than average population of heavy drinkers.

Around 29% of people say they drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week – the NHS’ recommended safe limit – compared to 26% across England.

That’s the equivalent of more than six pints of average strength beer or six standard glasses of wine.

NHS guidelines also advise against binge drinking, which it defines as drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.

But in Sunderland, 22% of adults surveyed admitted to binge drinking on their heaviest day of drinking in the last week.

Dr Piper continued: “The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January.

“Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise.

“That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.”