Problem drinking shows up north-south England divisions


Inactive User
May 19, 2010
Reaction score
que sera sera
There are stark geographical divisions in the toll alcohol takes on health in England, with men in the North West more likely to die prematurely than those in the South East, figures show.

Data collected by the North West Public Health Observatory shows almost 16,000 people died in England last year as a result of alcohol-related harm.

Two-thirds of the areas with the highest harm levels were in the North.

But alcohol-attributable crime was at its peak in London.

“Legislation or initiatives will not work unless we have a better understanding of what drives people's decisions”

Lord Howe Health Minister

The Local Alcohol Profiles in England report recorded an 8% annual increase in the number of people hospitalised for conditions relating to alcohol use, with 606,799 people seeking treatment last year.

The number is an extrapolation based on a list of 40 conditions, and includes those known to be directly caused by alcohol, like liver cirrhosis, to those which may be caused by drinking too much - such as high blood pressure or assault.

The researchers found some stark regional divisions.

Liverpool had the highest rate of hospital admissions for alcohol-related harm.

In Blackpool, researchers calculated that if all alcohol-related deaths were prevented, men would be living on average nearly two years more. In Bracknell Forest, this figure was just four months longer.

Blackpool also saw the highest rate of incapacity benefit due to alcoholism, and Broadland, in Norfolk, the lowest.


* Manchester
* Salford
* Liverpool
* Rochdale
* Tameside

But while two-thirds of local authorities suffering the highest rates of alcohol-related harm were in the North West and North East, areas in and around London registered the highest rate of alcohol-related crimes - with Newham, Westminster, Slough and Islington faring the worst.

Professor Mark Bellis, director of the observatory 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.

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


* Broadland
* East Dorset
* South Northamptonshire
* Babergh
* Three Rivers

"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."

Health minister Lord Howe said the government was already taking action to stop the sale of alcohol below cost and to review alcohol taxation and price.

"Supply and price are not the only factors fuelling misuse though, attitudes are crucial. We need to understand better the psychology behind why different groups of people drink too much. Legislation or initiatives will not work unless we have a better understanding of what drives people's decisions.

"We will work across government, and with communities and families, to challenge negative social norms that cause social problems and promote the positives."

BBC News - Problem drinking shows up north-south England divisions