A report has revealed that one in four adults in England are now classed as ‘hazardous’ drinkers, consuming so much alcohol that they are at risk of serious conditions like liver disease and depression.
Data compiled in 2007 and subject to a recent analysis reveals that 33% of men and 16% of women fall into the ‘hazardous’ category.
The report, from The NHS Information Centre, also found that some signs of alcohol dependence were evident in 9% of men and 4% of women.
In 2007, more than 134,000 prescriptions for drugs to treat alcohol addiction were issued, an increase of 31% on the 2003 number. The cost to the NHS of supplying such drugs is £2.4m, up 39% on £1.7m in 2003.
New figures on the number of people being admitted to hospital in England suffering from injuries directly or indirectly involving alcohol show a rise from 510,200 in 2002/03 to 863,300 in 2007/08. Of the most recent cases, 62% were men.
Changes to the way the figures were calculated in 2007 mean that data on primary or secondary diagnoses of alcohol are now included.