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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Binge drinking 'worst in north'
Slumped after overdrinking
England 'developing a dangerous alcohol addiction'
People living in the north of England are more likely to die earlier through alcohol abuse than anywhere else in the country, research suggests.

Some 18% of adults in England binge drink double the daily recommended level in one or more sessions a week.

Newcastle had the highest rates of binge drinking, and people in Blackpool died earliest from overindulging.

The Centre for Public Health analysed statistics from the past two years for all 354 local authority regions.

Binge drinking rates

The centre, part of Liverpool John Moores University, broke the figures down after analysing health, crime, mortality and binge drinking statistics from 2004 to 2006.

Copeland, in Cumbria, and Liverpool had the most alcohol hospital admissions.

Experts warned that England had gone from a country "enjoying a harmless tipple" to one developing "a dangerous alcohol addiction".

In 2004-5, 217,900 men and 147,000 women were admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions.

Council areas in the North West and North East dominated the top 10 for both sexes.

Liverpool had the worst rate for men - 1,548 per 100,000 - followed by Manchester on 1,465 and Middlesbrough on 1,435.

For women, Copeland registered 794, Liverpool 785 and Halton 772.

These profiles graphically illustrate the growing costs of cheap alcohol, a night-time economy almost exclusively packed with bars and clubs
Centre for Public Health

For months lost due to alcohol, Blackpool topped the list for both men and women with nearly 23 months lost for men on average and over 12.5 for women.

Some 29.2% of adults in Newcastle binge drink, followed by 27.6% in Liverpool and Durham. This compared with just 8.8% in East Dorset, consuming double the recommended daily limit - the equivalent of a large glass of wine for women and a pint-and-a-half of lager for men - in at least one session a week.


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The City of Westminster in London was the worst place for alcohol-related violence in 2005-6, with 15 violent offences per 1,000 residents due to alcohol.

Professor Mark Bellis, director for the Centre for Public Health, said: "These profiles graphically illustrate the growing costs of cheap alcohol, a night-time economy almost exclusively packed with bars and clubs and a failure to deliver a credible drinking message to both youths and adults.

"We hope that making these statistics widely available will highlight that we are no longer a nation enjoying a harmless tipple but increasingly one developing a dangerous alcohol addiction."

Drunk being arrested
Government says it is trying hard to combat the problem

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the government was working hard to combat alcohol problems: "We are working hard to raise awareness about alcohol misuse and ensure that treatment is available to those who need it."

She pointed out that 217m a year was spent on alcohol treatment with over 60,000 people being treated by specialist alcohol services.

But Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrats' health spokesman, said: "It is simply unacceptable that such stark health inequalities still exist.

"The government needs to think about more than just containment of the problem, it must deal with the causes."

And shadow home secretary David Davis added: "This alarming research shows why it was wrong of the government to unleash 24-hour drinking on all our towns and cities without a proper assessment of the consequences."

An interview with Prof Mark Bellis, director for the Centre for Public Health

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