A quarter of Britons are "hazardous" drinkers

Wed May 20, 2009 10:32am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Almost a quarter of Britons are "hazardous drinkers" and hundreds of thousands more of them are being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related reasons than five years ago, according to official figures.

The statistics showed that 33 percent of men and 16 percent of women drank potentially dangerous amounts, the National Health Service (NHS) Information Center said.

Another 6 percent of men and 2 percent of women were harmful drinkers.

"Hazardous drinking" was defined as consumption which could bring about the risk of physical or psychological harm, while "harmful drinking" was described as likely to cause problems.

The report is the latest to show that many Britons consume too much alcohol, causing health problems and the suspicion it has led to rises in anti-social behavior and violence.

The government estimates that alcohol-related injuries and illnesses costs the state health system around 2.7 billion pounds a year.

The latest figures showed there were 863,300 alcohol-related admissions to hospital in 2007, an increase of 69 percent from five years earlier, 2002.

The number of deaths directly linked to alcohol was also up to 6,541, a rise of 19 percent since 2001, with liver disease the biggest killer.   Continued...

<p>A barman pulls a pint of beer at a public house in Leeds, northern England October 13, 2008. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis</p>