More than one in four people drink more than the healthy limit every week, with northerners hitting the bottle harder than anywhere else in the country, according to research.
Academics at the North-West Public Health Observatory (NWPHO) found alcohol-related illnesses had also shot up in the past five years, and their survey showed London had the highest number of crimes motivated by drink.
Researchers based at Liverpool John Moores University's Centre for Public Health published the survey results in the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE 2010) report.
Professor Mark Bellis, the observatory's director, said: "The price we pay for turning a blind eye to the real extent of alcohol abuse across England is reflected in the new Local Alcohol Profiles for England and it is a price that is paid especially by the poorest communities.
"The English death toll from alcohol now exceeds 15,500 people every year.
"It is time to recognise that we are not a population of responsible drinkers with just a handful of irresponsible individuals ruining it for others.
"Over one in four drinkers exceed weekly limits according to national surveys and alcohol sales figures suggest the number is much higher."
"I am really worried about many patients who continue to drink heavily, despite the health advice and information given to them, and the lack of support available for primary care to refer them to!! A national campaign like the stop smoking is needed!!" - Adele Skinner, Redhill, Surrey