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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 01:42 GMT
More 'addicted to alcohol than drugs'
Alcohol consumption amongst teenagers has increased
Alcohol consumption amongst teenagers has increased
Twice as many people are addicted to alcohol than to all other drugs, except tobacco, according to a report.

The study also reveals a rise in the number of deaths attributable to alcohol addiction.

The State of the Nation report, launched by Alcohol Concern at their annual conference on Thursday, reveals that one person in 13 in Britain is dependent on alcohol.

Alcohol facts
27% of adult men and 15% of women drink over the recommended safe levels
One in six people attending accident and emergency departments have alcohol related injuries or problems
One in seven people killed on the roads are involved in drink-drive accidents
920,000 British children have one or more parent who misuses alcohol
More than a quarter of 11 to 16-year-olds drink alcohol at least once a week
60% of employers experience problems due to employees' drinking
50% of the rough sleeper population are dependent on alcohol
That figure compares to one in 26 who are hooked on all forms of drugs, including prescription drugs.

But despite these statistics, says the report, just 1m is spent on alcohol prevention and treatment each year in England and Wales, compared with an expenditure of 91.45 million on drug prevention.

The charity has called on the government to implement a comprehensive strategy on alcohol.

Eric Appleby, director of Alcohol Concern, said: "The sheer breadth and scale of the problem - in terms of the impact on people's heath, relationships and pockets, not to mention on public services, especially the NHS - reinforces the need for urgent joined-up action at a national level.

"Currently responsibility for tackling the impact of alcohol misuse falls to a number of different government departments.

"What we need is a co-ordinated strategy that concentrates on prevention of harm, and tackles alcohol misuse on all fronts - education, public campaigns, community safety, counselling and treatment.

"The Department of Health is committed to a National Alcohol Strategy in its Saving Lives blueprint but we need action sooner rather than later if Britain's serious alcohol problems are not to deteriorate even further."

Memory loss

The number of deaths directly attributable to alcohol misuse, such as heart disease and liver cirrhosis, rose sharply in the second half of the 90s, from 3,853 a year in 1994 to 5,508 in 1999, says the report.

It also says that alcohol plays some part in an estimated 33,000 deaths a year, and 80% of the public does not think the government does enough to highlight the dangers of drinking alcohol.

And it states that one in four people have experienced memory loss, injured themselves or failed to turn up to work after a night's drinking.

The drinks trade spends 227m a year to advertise its products and the government nets 11.5bn per annum in tax revenue from alcohol sales.

Studies carried out in the UK have shown that alcohol misuse costs the NHS up to 3bn a year - between 2% and 12% of total NHS hospital expenditure.

Further costs to society include 3bn a year from sickness and absenteeism from work, premature deaths, accidents and alcohol-related crime.

See also:

26 Feb 01 | Health
Drug-related deaths soar
20 Feb 01 | Health
UK children top drugs league
20 Feb 01 | Health
Teenage drink and drugs in Europe
01 Feb 01 | Health
6bn bill for alcohol abuse
16 Jan 01 | Health
Drink injury link confirmed
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