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Alcohol "a problem" in South West

Alcohol-related hospital admissions in the South West have increased by more than 50% in four years, according to a health watchdog.

The South West Public Health Observatory (SWPHO) said people suffering from alcohol-induced illness in the region rose from nearly 8,600 in 2001 to 12,950 in 2005.

The region has a population of just more than five million.
Its report highlights an estimated 728,500 people aged 16 to 64 years old in the region as hazardous drinkers and about 119,000 are dependent drinkers.

Hospital admissions due to alcohol for women aged under 75 are higher than the England average, although men are still most likely to suffer death or illness due to alcohol.

Dr Gabriel Scally, regional director of public health at NHS South West, said: "We need to call time on alcohol misuse in the South West.

"Not only does it affect the health of the person misusing it at a massive cost to the health service, it also has a wider impact - affecting children, families, education, work productivity, crime and disorder.

"Alcohol-specific deaths and alcohol-specific hospital admissions are both five times higher in the most deprived areas compared with the most affluent in the region."

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South West Public Health Observatory