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England's alcohol problems mapped

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People living in Manchester and Liverpool are more likely to drink alcohol at levels that significantly damage their health, profiles of every area in England reveal.

Researchers at the North West Public Health Observatory at Liverpool John Moores University's centre for public health found that over eight percent of adults in northern cities drink alcohol at harmful levels, while Salford, Knowsley and Rochdale have seven percent of people aged over 16 drinking dangerous amounts.

The profiles are based on 22 different indicators and include for the first time the number of people in every council drinking at harmful or hazardous levels.

Affluent areas also have problems

Although harmful alcohol consumption - over 50 units a week for men and 35 for women - is linked to more deprived areas of the country, affluent areas were also found to have problems.

According to the alcohol profiles, about a quarter of individuals in the relatively affluent areas of Runnymede, Harrogate and Guildford regularly drink at hazardous levels.

'One in five adults at risk'

Professor Mark Bellis, director of the centre, said: "While much attention has been paid to binge drinking, less discussion has focused on the damages associated with routinely consuming too much alcohol.

"Across England around one in five adults are drinking enough to put their health at significant risk and one in 20 enough to make disease related to alcohol consumption practically inevitable."

Call to tackle binge drinking

Prof Bellis added: "We need to tackle binge drinking and all the short-term social and health consequences associated with such behaviour.

"However in order to stop further increases in alcohol-related deaths and admission to hospital, we must also reverse the tolerance that most communities have built up by simply consuming too much alcohol on a weekly basis."

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