Start the New Year by ditching the booze
People in County Durham are being urged to come together and take on the 2018 Dry January challenge.
A recent YouGov poll found that almost one in 10 people in the North East - 168,899 people - are already planning on taking part in the initiative.
Now in its sixth year, Alcohol Concern's Dry January asks people to put the excesses of the festive period behind them and start the New Year with 31 days off the booze to feel healthier, save money and re-set their relationship with alcohol.
The campaign launches today, one of the busiest days of the year for the emergency services as Christmas parties lead to alcohol-related injuries and violence. Alcohol harm costs the region an estimated £1.01bn every year, including £209m to the NHS and £331m in crime and disorder costs, equating to around £386 for every man, woman and child.
With recent findings showing more than one in four people in the North East are drinking above the low risk guidelines of 14 units a week for both men and women, Dry January encourages people to take a break which can give the body a chance to recover.
Region leads the way
We are working with Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, to promote the many benefits of giving your body a break from booze, including losing weight, sleeping better and saving money.
The North East has led the way in terms of Dry January sign ups over the past four years, with the highest proportion of people taking up the challenge, compared to any other region in the country. The same YouGov poll shows 6 per cent of UK adults are planning to take part - around 3.1m people.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, our Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: "Dry January is a wonderful opportunity for people in County Durham to reassess their relationship with alcohol, particularly after the festivities of Christmas and New Year.
"The health benefits of reducing your alcohol intake are well documented, and taking 31 days out from drinking can save you money, so there's no reason not to join the one in ten people from the North East who'll also be giving up alcohol this January."
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: "After the excesses of the festive period, Dry January is a great opportunity to give your body a break from alcohol at a time when many other people are also taking a month off.
"Drinking above the low risk limit puts us at more risk from around 60 different medical conditions, including at least seven types of cancer. Regular drinking also makes us more tired, anxious and less productive, so taking some time out can have real positive effects on our health and wellbeing.
Dry January facts
- 79% of participants said they saved money. The average person spends £50,000 on booze in their lifetime
- 62% said they had more energy and slept better
- 49% lost weight
Top tips for Dry January
- Don't forget to include Dry January on your Facebook or Instagram page. It might also encourage your friends and is a good way to give a mention to your favourite charity if you are fundraising.
- Take part with a friend and spur each other on - people who take part in Dry January with someone else are more likely to go the full month. Buddying up means you'll support each other through any wobbles, celebrate each other's achievements and enjoy other distractions and treats together.
- Try something new - take advantage of feeling better in yourself and join the gym or try a new sport. Even just getting out into the fresh air and blowing away those cobwebs will make you feel great.
- Keep track of progress - regular drinking can soon pile on the pounds in more ways than one and it's a good idea to keep a record of weight loss or money saved as a great way of helping you stay on track.
- Download the Dry January app available on iOS and Android to help track progress, and for handy tips and tricks.
To sign up to Dry January, find out more about the campaign and to access a wealth of support and advice, visit the website at Dry January.