Balance, the North East Alcohol office, has joined forces with international safety manufacturer Dräger and Northumberland County Council to challenge residents to make a resolution to ditch the drink for 31 days.
Staff at Dräger have pledged to take on Alcohol Concern's Dry January challenge and promised to do their best to stay on the wagon throughout the first month of 2016 – and they’re hoping people across Northumberland will join them in pledging to stay sober.
Dry January, now in its fourth year, challenges people to put the excesses of the festive period behind them adopt a fresh, healthy start to the new year. In exchange for avoiding alcohol throughout January, anyone accepting the challenge can look forward to starting the year hangover free, with better sleeping patterns, better skin and more energy.
Last year, the North East topped the table in terms of the number of participants signing up to Dry January. As not everyone that decides to take part signs up online, it's estimated that around two million people nationally attempted the challenge, with around 70,000 of these coming from the North East.
Balance and Dräger are now calling on people across Northumberland to join with them and accept the abstinence challenge, and help put the North East at the top of the table again for 2016.
Mary Edwards, programme manager for alcohol treatment at Balance, said: "Accepting the Dry January challenge before the excesses of the festive period, a time when many of us can overdo it, is the perfect way to commit to taking a break from alcohol. New Year is the natural time to take stock of our health and make a fresh start.
"Drinking more than the recommended limits can have serious long-term implications for health, with proven links to seven types of cancer, plus conditions including liver disease, anxiety, stomach ulcers, raised blood pressure, strokes and dementia.
"Studies have shown that even just one month without alcohol can have positive effects on health, meaning there are real benefits to taking part. In addition, many people taking the challenge find that the health benefits they notice over the month encourage them to reassess their drinking habits and make positive long-term changes.
"North Easterners proved they were up for the challenge last year – let's see if we can get even more people taking part this year."
This year's Dry January campaign is again supported by Northumberland County Council, which is joining the calls for local people to take on the challenge.
Coun Susan Dungworth, cabinet member for adult care and public health at Northumberland County Council, said: "New Year is an excellent time for making resolutions and a fresh start. The Dry January challenge has had lots of interest in the region and is a great way for all of us to improve our health by abstaining for a month."
To sign up to Dry January, find out more about the campaign and to access a wealth of support and advice, visit the Dry January website.