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Millions drinking excessive amounts of alcohol

Published:  23 July, 2008

1.5m people are drinking "harmful" levels of alcohol

A further 6.3m are downing double the recommended safe units of alcohol in any one week.

UK: An official survey has found 1.5m people in England are above the recommended safe number of units on a daily and weekly basis.

A further 6.3m are drinking "hazardous" levels of between 22 and 50 units for men and 15 to 35 for women, the Indications of Public Health in the English Regions report found.

The Government recommends men should not drink more than 21 units a week and for women, it is just 14.

The worst area for alcohol abuse is the Northwest of England, where one in four men and almost one in five women drink "at harmful levels," the report said.

On average, men in the most rundown areas die 20 months earlier and women nine months because of drink.

Report co-author, Professor Mark Bellis, said: "Alcohol is now destroying the health gains we have made by reducing smoking.

"This report catalogues the real price we are paying for cheap alcohol and a culture where drinking to excess is not only tolerated but often encouraged."

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has welcomed the report. He vowed the Government will find "innovative" ways to reduce the impact of harmful drinking."

The report was undertaken by the National Association of Public health Observatories at Liverpool John Moores University.