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Alcohol admissions rise by half in ten years

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There has been a significant jump in the number of patients being admitted to NHS hospitals in England because of alcohol-related problems, latest figures reveal.

In 2006-07 there were 57,142 admissions with a primary diagnosis specifically related to alcohol – a 52% rise on the 37,692 figure for 1995-96, according to the NHS Information Centre. Of these admissions, nearly 10% involved patients under the age of 18.

The data also reveals wide regional variation in alcohol admissions. North West strategic health authority had the highest level, with 170 admissions per 100,000 of the population, while East of England had the lowest at 72 admissions per 100,000.

Additionally, there were 112,267 prescriptions issued in primary care for treating alcohol dependency in 2007. This represents a 20% increase since 2003 when 93,241 drugs were prescribed.

Overall, the statistics suggest that nearly three-quarters of men and more than half of women drink an alcoholic drink at least once a week.

Earlier this week the government launched the ‘Know Your Limits’ campaign after research suggested 77% of people did not know how many units in a glass of wine.

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