January 27, 2009 / 5:04 PM / in 9 years

British alcohol-related deaths falling

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The number of Britons dying of alcohol-related causes has fallen but there are still more than twice as many such deaths than in 1991, official statistics showed on Tuesday.

<p>A customer poses for the camera with a pint of beer in a public house in Leeds, northern England October 13, 2008. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis</p>

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were 8,724 alcohol-related deaths in 2007, with the death rate highest among older men.

The figures, which were lower than in 2006, suggested that the number of deaths was leveling out after a sharp rise during the early 1990s, the ONS said.

“The death toll from alcohol remains unacceptably high, and twice as many people are dying from alcohol as 15 years ago,” said Alison Rogers, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust.

“We welcome the slight dip in deaths from last year’s figures, but we are worried that rates of excessive drinking are still on the increase.”

In 2007, there were 5,732 alcohol-related deaths in men and 2,992 in women, meaning the male level was almost double that recorded in 1991.

The highest death rate still occurred among Britons aged 55 to 74 while young drinkers, aged 15-34, saw the lowest number of deaths. However, the figures for this group were up slightly compared to the year before.

Last week, a separate study by the ONS found that more than a third of Britons regularly exceeded the government’s recommended daily alcohol limit.

The ONS found more men than women exceeded the limit and those living in “managerial or professional” households were likely to drink more than those in “routine and manual” households.

Opposition parties have accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government of not doing enough to tackle Britain’s problem with alcohol abuse, which costs the state health system around 2.7 billion pounds ($3.81 billion) a year.

However the Department of Health says campaigns to make people more aware of the dangers of excessive drinking are beginning to have an effect.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato

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