Plea to not let drink be a downer on festive celebrations

Revellers are being urged to have fun by stay safe as the emergency services brace themselves for one of the busiest weekends of the year.

Friday, 23rd December 2016, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:11 pm
Campaign groups are calling on people to watch how much they drink this Christmas and New Year as the emergency services prepare for their busiest time.

With many people heading out into town and city centres on what is commonly known as Black-Eye Friday, paramedics and police across the region are gearing up to face increased demands from alcohol-related call-outs.

These include violent incidents, health-related issues due to excessive drinking and other injuries, with additional staff and resources needed to cope under the pressure.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

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Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, hopes it will take on board its warning as Christmas and New Year approaches.

It comes as recent findings suggest the majority of people are put off going out because of alcohol-related concerns.

Balance’s most recent survey into the North East’s perceptions of alcohol found almost two-thirds of people (65%) are put off a night out in town and city centres because of the drunken behaviour of others.

Its advice comes as a regional campaign group adds its voice to the call to stay safe.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

One Punch North East, backed by Durham Constabulary, has said Black Eye Friday should be not be an excuse to hit anyone and have called for it to be remanded Festive Friday,

Colin Shevills, director of Balance said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves this Christmas and have a great time celebrating with friends and family, but we hope people will take steps to stay safe by drinking sensibly.

“Our emergency services are under massive pressure and alcohol is only adding to the burden at what is already a busy time.
“From what people are telling us, the drunken behaviour of others is one of the reasons they’re actually put off a night out.
“Where alcohol is concerned, there’s more chance of fights or arguments breaking out, trips and falls or other injuries.
“Many of us have witnessed some or all of these incidents or issues and none of it is fun or enjoyable.

“The last thing we want to do is put a dampener on the party, we just hope people will look out for each other, and act responsibly when it comes to alcohol.”

The ongoing issues surrounding alcohol harms were also highlighted in a shocking report released by Balance earlier this month.

Balance’s Urgent Care report revealed the impact of alcohol on the North East’s emergency and urgent care departments, both from a financial and personal perspective, with staff across urgent care settings facing verbal, physical and sexual abuse on a daily basis.

It is calling on the Government to enforce a minimum price per unit of alcohol in the March budget,

Mr Shevills added: “These measures would save lives, reduce hospital admissions, cut crime and lesson the financial burden alcohol places on the emergency services.”