WEARSIDE teenagers are contributing to the North East having the highest number of under-18s getting treatment for alcohol abuse.
Figures released today by Balance, the region’s alcohol office, show that during 2010-11 more than 600 under-18s were in treatment for drink problems.
That makes up about seven per cent of the 9,450 people receiving alcohol treatment in the area.
Also in the North East, the number of under-18s in treatment is 118 per 100,000 per population – compared to an England average of 59.
Balance is now relaunching its campaign calling for more to be done to protect children and young people.
It is petitioning the Government to introduce more “meaningful” regulations to stop the alcohol industry reaching children and young people through advertising and marketing.
Director Colin Shevills said: “The fact that we have the highest rates in England shows that we are getting our young people into treatment which is a positive step.
“There are some fantastic support services in the North East and they continue to help and support hundreds of young people.
“However, we want to resolve these problems before they get to such an advanced stage and reduce the number of young lives that are affected by alcohol.
“Our region is drinking too much from an early age driven by alcohol which is too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted.”
He added: “Although the Government’s Alcohol Strategy aims to turn the tide against binge drinking, it is weak on a clear strategy around the marketing and promotion of alcohol.
“Our concern is that it will remain effectively self regulatory.
“This is why we need to call on Government for change.”