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Peter Henderson from South Tyneside

Peter Henderson from South Tyneside


Health experts call on Government to take action on alcohol marketing

A North East dad who got his life back after treatment for alcohol dependency has described how alcohol ads can make recovery harder – and joined experts in calling on the Government to take action to protect children and people recovering from drink problems.

Peter Henderson, 42, is nearly two years sober after undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction, which led to family breakup and losing his job. Now with liver disease, he says that drinking again could kill him. Peter has joined MPs and leading health experts including North East alcohol programme Balance in highlighting the impact the advertising onslaught can have – especially at Christmas.

The latest report from the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) titled “No escape: How alcohol marketing preys on children and vulnerable people” has found the “constant bombardment” of alcohol marketing at celebrations such as Christmas and sports events makes it difficult for people in active addiction and recovery. The AHA – which represents more than 60 organisations including Balance – is now calling for the Government to take urgent action to protect both those in recovery and children from overexposure to alcohol marketing. Evidence also shows alcohol advertising encourages people to drink at earlier ages and in greater quantities than they would otherwise do.

Recent examples include the product placement of beer brands in front of footballers during Euro 2020, a recent lager advert to tie in with the new James Bond film, and a supermarket advert at the height of the pandemic encouraging people to try a “quarantini”.

The North East suffers disproportionately from alcohol harm and the COVID pandemic exacerbated the situation, resulting in an estimated 855,000 people in the region drinking above recommended low risk levels. Alcohol-specific deaths in England hit record levels during 2020, with the worst rates in the country in the North East.

Read more here.