A local survey conducted in 2016 (Adult Health and Lifestyle Survey) showed that 90% of respondents drink alcohol, but younger people under the age of 35 are significantly less likely to drink weekly or more often at just 32% compared with 62% of those between the ages of 35 and 64 and 67% of those aged 65 or over. Men, are significantly more likely to drink weekly or more often than women, and this is particularly the case for those aged 65+, with 82% of older men drinking that regularly compared with 47% of older women. There is a social gradient evident in those who drink weekly or more often, with those in the 20% most deprived areas significantly less likely to do so (39%) than those in the 40% least deprived areas (71%).
Binge and increasing or higher risk drinking
34% of respondents are 'binge drinking', that is drinking 6 or more units for women or 8 or more units for men on a single occasion in the last week - 6 units is the equivalent of just over two large glasses of 13% strength wine and 8 units is just over three pints of 4% strength beer (This compares to an average figure for Gateshead of 28% recorded in the Health Survey for England 2011-14). The survey results show that it is those aged 35 to 64 who are more prone to binge drink, and in particular men of that age, with 49% binge drinking. An earlier survey conducted by Balance North East in 2014 found that 24% of Gateshead residents binge drink weekly or more often, suggesting that binge drinking could be on the increase. The North East average in 2014 was 20%.
The 2016 Adult Health and Lifestyle Survey found that 27% of Gateshead residents are what's known as 'increasing or higher risk drinkers', that is they are drinking more than 14 units of alcohol every week - the equivalent of 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. Similarly, a 2017 Balance North East survey found that 27% were drinking at that level which was slightly higher than the North East average of 23%. 38% of residents state that they are now drinking less alcohol than they did 12 months ago and only 6% are drinking more.
In the 2017 Balance North East survey, whilst 87% of Gateshead respondents associated alcohol with an increased risk of developing liver cancer, only 68% associated it with mouth or throat cancer, 61% with bowel cancer and 37% with breast cancer. However, awareness has increased on previous years.
Children and young people
In a local survey in 2012, 19% of school pupils 12-15 years of age reported that they had had an alcoholic drink in the last week.
In the 2014/15 'What About YOUth' (WAY) survey, 72% of 15 year olds in Gateshead reported that they have had an alcoholic drink, with 11% drinking alcohol regularly (at least once a week). These rates are both higher than the England averages of 62.4% and 6.2% respectively [Chart - Regular drinkers age 15].
The 2014/15 'What About YOUth' (WAY) survey also reported that around one in five (19.4%) 15 year olds in Gateshead had been drunk in the last 4 weeks, significantly higher than the England average of 14.6% [Chart - 15 year olds who had been drunk in the last 4 weeks].
The 2014/15 'What About YOUth' (WAY) survey also reported that 24% of Gateshead 15 year olds had undertaken 3 or more unhealthy 'risky' behaviours from a list that included drinking alcohol, smoking, using cannabis or other drugs, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise [Chart - 15 year olds with 3 or more risky behaviours]. Compared with the national average of 16% and the North East average of 21% Gateshead's average is significantly higher.
In 2014/15 to 2016/17 there were 85 hospital admissions for under 18s due to alcohol specific conditions, a crude rate of 70.8 per 100,000 compared with an England average of 34.2 [Chart - Hospital admissions due to alcohol specific conditions (under 18s)].
The (age-standardised) rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in Gateshead is 1,003 per 100,000 population (DSR) [Chart - Alcohol related hospital admissions]. This is significantly higher than both the regional average (862) and the England average (632). The general trend in alcohol related hospital admissions is up. For every 100 alcohol related hospital admissions that would be expected (based on the England average) there are 201 in Saltwell, which is significantly higher than Gateshead's ratio of 146 to 100 that would be expected. Bridges, Felling, Deckham, Dunston & Teams and Pelaw & Heworth are also significantly high [Map - Ward alcohol related hospital admissions].
In 2017/18 there were 197 hospital admissions episodes for alcohol related mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol. As a rate per 100,000 (DSR) this was 100, compared with the England average of just 69 [Chart - Hospital admissions for alcohol related mental and behavioural disorders].
Alcohol related mortality has remained at or around the same level in recent years. 2013 saw the lowest number of deaths of recent years at 101. However, in the years that followed there was a slight increase resulting in Gateshead being significantly worse than the national average. In 2016 there were 114 alcohol related deaths, a rate of 57.9 per 100,000 (DSR) compared with the England average of 46.0. The national average has also remained fairly constant in recent years [Chart - Alcohol related mortality].
Following the same pattern as all alcohol related mortality, mortality from chronic liver disease has remained around the same level in recent years. In 2013-15 the rate was 16.7 deaths per 100,000, a total of 98 deaths. Gateshead remains significantly higher than the England average [Chart - Mortality from chronic liver disease]. Of particular note is the rate for women, which although starting from a much lower base than men continues to increase and is moving away from the England average. For example, between 2006 and 2008 there were 23 deaths from chronic liver disease, but between 2013 and 2015 this increased to 41 deaths.
12% of all crime recorded in Gateshead in the last 12 months was deemed to be alcohol-related (this is recorded at the discretion of the police officer dealing with the crime). More specifically, 22% of violence against the person offences were deemed to be alcohol-related. 15% of robbery offences and 11% of thefts from vehicles were also believed to have been influenced by alcohol. Due to the way in which the data is presented, it is not possible to determine whether the victim or the offender is under the influence of alcohol.
Cost of alcohol
According to estimates from Balance, alcohol related harm in Gateshead costs around £336 per head (taking into account costs to the NHS, crime and licensing, social services and the workplace). The cost for the North East is £349 and for England it is £338 per head.
 Health and Lifestyle Survey, Gateshead Council, 2016
 Balance North East Perceptions Survey, Balance NE, 2015 and 2017
 Gateshead Schools Health Related Behaviour Survey, 2012
 What About YOUth? Survey, HSCIC, 2014/15 (Young People website)
 Hospital admissions for under 18 due to alcohol specific conditions, PHE and HSCIC HES, 2014/15 - 2016/17 (Local Alcohol Profiles for England website)
 Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC, 2017/18 (Local Alcohol Profiles for England website)
 Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC 2011/12-15/16 (Local Health website)
 Annual death extract public health mortality file, ONS, 2016 (Local Alcohol Profiles for England website)
 Annual death extract public health mortality file, ONS, 2013-15 (Local Alcohol Profiles for England website)
 Northumbria Police, iBase and iQuanta, 2016/17
 The cost of alcohol in Gateshead, Balance, 2013/14