The latest annual statistics on alcohol for England 2012 have been released by the ONS, confirming a continuing rise in alcohol-related and primary alcohol attributable hospital conditions. Alcohol-related admissions rose 11% on the previous year with primary diagnosis conditions up 2.1%.
This comes despite falls since 2004 in the proportion of adults reporting drinking alcohol. Continuing admissions - many being long term conditions - are thought to be linked to decades of rising consumption prior to 2004. Additionally indications that amongst some groups, those who are drinking are drinking more.
Some key facts from the report include:
- A 2.1% increase in primary diagnosis alcohol conditions (198,900 for 2010/11) since the previous year and a 40% increase since 2003 (142,000).
- A 11% increase on alcohol-related admissions (based on attributable fractions) totalling 1,168,300 for 2010/11.This is more than twice as many as in 2002/03 (510,700).
- A long-term downward trend in the proportion of adults who reported drinking in the week prior to interview. In 1998 75% of men and 59% of women drank in the week prior to interview compared to 68%men and 54% of women in 2010.
- 13% of secondary school pupils aged 11 to 15 reported drinking alcohol in the week prior to interview in 2010 compared with 18 per cent of pupils in 2009 and 26 per cent in 2001.
- In 2011, there were 167,764 prescription items for drugs for the treatment of alcohol dependency. This is an increase of 4.7 per cent on the 2010 figure (160,181) and an increase of 63% on the 2003 figure (102,741).
- The cost of these prescription items was £2.49 million in 2011. This is an increase of 45% on the 2003 figure (£1.72 million).
Alcohol Concern's Emily Robinson commented in a Daily Mail report:
"As a country we face a huge NHS bill because of health problems caused by alcohol. That means we need the Government to take action across a whole range of policy areas such as advertising, pricing, availability and investing in treatment to help bring down the number going to hospital because of alcohol."
Drinkaware's Chris Sorek commented in a Morning Advertiser Report:
“It is encouraging to see a fall in average weekly alcohol consumption among young adults. Yet despite an overall decline in recent years, over one in five young men (22%) and one in five young women (17%) are still binge drinking. The figures confirm the worrying trend of Britain’s hidden binge drinkers (25-44 year olds) who drink more heavily and more regularly than young adults."