A study that has just been published by the Royal College of Physicians has revealed that alcohol abuse is costing the UK up to £6 billion every year in NHS bills, premature death, losses to business and drink-related crimes and incidents.
Of this total, £3 billion directly hits the NHS which is currently forking out 12% of its total spend on drink related health problems. Additionally, one in five patients who are admitted to hospital for illnesses unrelated to alcohol do actually have a potentially dangerous drinking habit.
The result of the study has led to campaigners urging the government to speed up the publication of its long-awaited strategy for reducing alcohol misuse in the UK.
It’s not hard to see why alcohol abuse costs are continuing to rise when studies show that 15% of women and 27% of men are drinking more than the weekly recommended levels. Teenage drinking is also increasing with more than half of 14 and 15 year-olds admitting to hitting the bottle in the previous week.
Professor Ian Gilmore, Chairman of the RCP commented:
“Alcohol is an issue which needs to be tackled on all fronts, especially by changing attitudes to alcohol-related problems across the NHS. If we start at the sharp end of hospital admissions with detection and simple intervention for patients who are starting to drink dangerously, there is good evidence that we can make a real difference.”
A spokeswoman from the Department of Health has confirmed that a consultation paper which will tackle a national strategy on alcohol misuse will be published shortly.
If you think that you or someone you know could have a problem with alcohol abuse, please feel free to visit our Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and different types of treatments that are available. Alternatively, you could contact us today for help.