Alcohol Harm Overview

On these pages we have bought together a number of guidance and data sources to assist with effective planning, commissioning and delivery of services to reduce alcohol-related harm.

The following figures give an indication of the level of the problem (Source: DH Health Improvement Analytics, Feb 2010)

Alcohol Harm in England

  • 85% of adults drink alcohol
  • The DH lower-risk guidelines:
    • Men: should not regularly exceed 3-4 units/day
    • Women: should not regularly exceed 2-3 units/day
  • BUT - 21% (over 9 million) of adults in England drink more than the Government's lower-risk guidelines
  • AND - about 2 million adults drink at higher-risk levels
    • 1.3 million men drink 50+ units/week
    • 700,000 women drink more 35+ units/week.

Hospital Admissions

  • Alcohol is responsible for 8% of all hospital admissions
    • 511,000 admissions in 2002/03
    • 1.2 million individuals admitted in 2009/10
    • Rising by 12% (111,000) between 2009/10 and 2010/11
  • Alcohol misuse contributes to 48 conditions
    • 13 conditions were wholly attributable to alcohol consumption
    • 35 conditions were partially attributable to alcohol consumption
  • Areas of highest deprivation (compared to more affluent areas) have:
    • 2 to 3 times higher loss of life
    • 2 to 5 times more admissions to hospitals