Prescriptions dispensed to treat alcohol dependency in England have increased by almost 75% in nine years, figures show.
Almost 180,000 prescription items were dispensed in the community in 2012, the highest number recorded since the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s (HSCIC) annual report on alcohol began in 2003.
The latest figure (178,250 in 2012) is a 6% increase on 2011 (167,760) and a 73% increase on 2003 (102,740).
The HSCIC report also shows more people took out prescriptions in 2012 (315 per 100,000 people) than the year before (302 per 100,000).
HSCIC chief executive Alan Perkins said: “This report shows a substantial increase in the number of drugs prescribed for alcohol dependency compared to almost a decade ago. “
The report, Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2013, contains statistics about drinking behaviours, knowledge and attitudes, costs, ill health and mortality.
The majority of information has been previously published and is drawn from a variety of sources, but information on prescribing and hospital admissions is newly presented today.
Considering hospital admissions in England where the main reason for admission (primary diagnosis) was an alcohol related condition:
• Hospitals admitted 200,900 cases in 2012, a 1% rise on 2011 (198,900) and a 41% rise on 2002-03 (142,000).
• Almost two thirds of admissions were male patients (60.4%), which is the same percentage as the previous year.
• Regionally, admission rates were highest in the North West (200 per 100,000 of the population) and lowest in the East England region (84 per 100,000 of the population).