New figures from Public Health England (PHE), published today (2 June 2015), show a repeated drop in the rate of hospital admissions due to alcohol among under 18s, evidence of a continuing decline in young people’s harmful drinking.
The figures in the latest update to the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE) data tool show that nationally, alcohol-specific hospital admissions for under 18s over the last 3 years are down to 13,725. This shows a fall of 41% against the earliest comparable figures, 22,890 between 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009.
However, 59% of local authorities in England (193 out of all 326 local authorities) saw a slight increase in hospital admissions in adults where the main reason for admission was alcohol. These admissions have risen by 1.3% to 333,000, up from 326,000 last year, with a larger increase seen in women (2.1% increase while for men this was 0.7%).
There continues to be large variations between the most deprived and the least deprived areas. Hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions were 55% higher in the most deprived.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE said:
The decline in hospital admissions from alcohol for under 18s is promising, but current levels of harm caused by alcohol remain unacceptably high, especially within the most deprived communities, who suffer the most from poor health in general.
Much of this harm is preventable and we need further action at a national and local level to implement the most effective evidence based policies. Public Health England will continue to provide leadership and support to local areas to reduce the devastating harm that alcohol can cause to individuals, families and communities.
Alcohol harms are widespread and it continues to be the leading risk factor for deaths among men and women aged 15 to 49 years in the UK. The latest figures show that deaths related to alcohol remain at similar high levels to those reported over the past decade with over 20,000 deaths in 2013. The inequalities in alcohol-related deaths are particularly stark in relation to chronic liver disease with the most deprived areas experiencing double the rate of death compared with the least deprived.
The LAPE tool presents data for 19 alcohol-related indicators in an interactive tool, which helps local areas assess alcohol-related harm and monitor the progress of efforts to reduce this.
Photo by eenwall. Used under Flickr Creative Commons.