Healthy living

Alcohol deaths exceed 15,000 a year in England

Alcohol deaths exceed 15 000 a year in England Hospital admissions also increase

More than 15,000 people in England died last year from alcohol related illness, new figures reveal.

The latest report by the North West Public Health Observatory also shows the number of people admitted to hospital with alcohol related illness has risen by two thirds in the last five years.

In 2008/9, 606,799 people were admitted to hospital due to alcohol related illness, including alcohol poisoning, cancers, liver disease, road accidents and injuries as a result of drinking too much, an increase of eight per cent on the previous year.

The figures don't include people only treated in A and E.

The data compiled in the Local Alcohol Profiles for England report also shows that one in four exceed healthy drinking limits every week.

People living in the North are more likely to suffer from alcohol related health problems than their southern counterparts.

Two thirds of the areas most affected by alcohol problems were in the North West and North East, but the highest rate of alcohol related crime was found in London.

The ten worst areas for overall alcohol related harm were Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Rochdale, Tameside, Islington, Middlesbrough, Halton, Oldham and Blackpool.

Professor Mark Bellis, the observatory's director, said: "The price we pay for turning a blind eye to the real extent of alcohol abuse across England is reflected in the new Local Alcohol Profiles for England and it is a price that is paid especially by the poorest communities.

"The English death toll from alcohol now exceeds fifteen and a half thousand people every year.

"It is time to recognise that we are not a population of responsible drinkers with just a handful of irresponsible individuals ruining it for others.

"Over one in four drinkers exceed weekly limits according to national surveys and alcohol sales figures suggest the number is much higher.

"At weekends, by the early morning hours our city centres do not have just a few drunk individuals in - actually most people are drunk yet continue to be able to buy alcohol despite such sales being illegal.

"We need to see the real cost of alcohol reflected in the price it is sold at and the warnings about the dangers that alcohol represents not relegated to a tiny corner in alcohol adverts, but written large enough for people to recognise the seriousness of the risks."

This article was published on Wed 1 September 2010

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