Overview of Alcohol
According to Public Health England, alcohol is the third leading risk factor for death and disability after smoking and obesity and is linked to more than 60 medical conditions. In people aged 15-49 years old, alcohol is the leading risk factor for preventable death.
A study in 2012 estimated that alcohol costs the UK economy around £21 billion per year. This includes £11 billion in crime costs; £7 billion in lost productivity and £3.5 billion in costs to the NHS. This figure is now dated, and other estimates put the figure much higher.
The impact of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence is much greater for those in the lowest income bracket and those experiencing the highest levels of deprivation.
Sandwell is the 13th most deprived local authority in England and has high levels of harmful drinking. Reducing the level harmful drinking in Sandwell will help to achieve the council’s 2030 ambition of Sandwell being a ‘place where we live healthy lives and live them for longer’.
Alcohol in Sandwell
Levels of harmful drinking are higher in Sandwell compared to regional and national levels. Hospital admissions for alcohol-related and alcohol-specific conditions were higher in Sandwell between 2008/2009 and 2017/2018.
More people die in Sandwell from alcohol-related conditions and from chronic liver disease compared to regional and national levels.
The negative impact of excessive alcohol consumption on mental health is evident in Sandwell where hospital admissions for mental and behavioural disorders is higher than regional and national levels. More people in Sandwell also claim Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance due to alcoholism.
In England, alcohol dependence is more common in men (6%) than in women (2%). This gender difference is found in Sandwell where alcohol-related admissions and alcohol-related deaths are nearly three times higher for men than for women.
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A new national alcohol strategy is being developed by the government.
A comprehensive review of alcohol-related harm in England and possible policy solutions has been produced by Public Health England which summarises the types and prevalence of alcohol-related harm, as well as presenting evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alcohol control policies.