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alcohol health alliance uk

The cost of alcohol misuse to the NHS in Hartlepool

Posted 11/06/10

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “These figures, which may even be conservative according to our estimates, highlight the huge price we are all paying for alcohol misuse.

“When people drink more than the recommended limits every day or every other day, they not only run the risk of damaging their own health and cost the taxpayer money. There is a price to pay for friends and family too. It is estimated that 1.3m children in England are affected by parental alcohol problems.”

He confirmed that alcohol consumption traditionally increases during the World Cup, along with associated problems such as hospital admissions, violent crime and domestic abuse.

“Consumption is directly linked to price, therefore cut-price alcohol is hugely irresponsible and could ratchet up the problems with alcohol we already face as a region,” Colin said.

“In the North East one in three men and one in four women already drink at levels of increasing risk, we have the highest level of alcohol related hospital admissions and almost half of all violent crime is alcohol related.”

A minimum price is key to solving the UK’s problem with alcohol, Balance say.

Colin explained: “A minimum price is about ensuring alcohol is not available for pocket money prices. It will have greatest effect on strong, cheap alcohol, for instance, the introduction of a minimum price would have no effect on the average price of a pint in your local.

Notes to editors
Balance is the North East of England’s alcohol office, the first of its kind in the UK. It aims to encourage people in the North East to reduce how much alcohol they drink so they can live healthier lives in safer communities.

Research carried out by the University of Sheffield shows that a minimum price of 50p per unit would cut consumption and consequentially deaths, crimes and hospital admissions and reduce the economic burden. It also suggests that if a minimum price of 40p a unit was introduced, moderate drinkers would only be estimated to spend an extra 21p per week on alcohol.

The NHS recommended limits are 2-3 units a day for women (about two small glasses of wine) and 3-4 units a day for men (about two pints of 4% lager).