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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 10:08 GMT
Millions hooked on alcohol
Man holding pint of lager
Alcohol abuse is common
More than three million people in the UK are so addicted to alcohol they cannot get through the day without a drink, research finds.

Figures from the charity Alcohol Concern show that one in 13 adults is dependent on alcohol.

This is twice the number of people hooked on drugs, both legal and illegal.

Those in the South East are hardest hit by alcoholism, according to the study, with almost half a million people suffering from a drinking problem in the region.

Dependent on alcohol
North East 133,328
North West 360,228
Yorkshire and Humberside 264,608
East Midlands 222,765
West Midlands 280,246
East of England 287,636
London 393,638
South East 429,341
South West 261,334
England total 2,633,124
Wales 151,673
Scotland 276,213
Northern Ireland 85,139
Total UK 3,146,149
London is not far behind with 393,638 people affected by alcohol addiction.

Eric Appleby, Alcohol Concern chief executive, said: "The fact that over three million people can't get through the day without getting a fix of alcohol should surely worry all concerned."

Alcohol misuse is associated with a high rate of mental health problems.

A third people who are receiving help after being diagnosed as psychotic also suffer from alcohol misuse or dependence.

And two out of three suicide attempts are thought to be related to alcohol.

A conference in Manchester on Tuesday will focus on how to deal with alcohol-related mental health problems.

Experts will discuss the need for more resources to tackle the problem of dual diagnosis where people suffer from both mental illness and alcohol problems.

Mr Appleby said: "The bottom line is that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are not receiving the basic levels of support needed to help them get back on their feet.

"For example, there is little prospect of isolated people, living in remote areas, travelling miles to get to their nearest source of help.

"We need to be more imaginative about treatment models, the way they are delivered and who delivers them."

Mr Appleby said mental health and alcohol misuse problems are often linked.

"For this reason mental health service planners and commissioners must include alcohol services in their local service plans."

The government is to publish a National Alcohol Strategy in the near future.

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