Consequences

What are the social and personal problems related to alcohol? Here is the UK data around alcohol dependency, alcohol-related crime, hospital admissions and deaths.

Social and personal problems related to alcohol

Alcohol-related crime

There were an estimated 305,048 alcohol-related recorded crimes in England in 2012/13. This represents a 19% decrease from 375,489 alcohol-related recorded crimes in 2008/09.  (Alcohol-related recorded crime is calculated using attributable fractions to estimate what proportion of crimes were committed by someone who had been drinking)1.

There were approximately 592,000 incidents of violent crime in England and Wales in 2014/15 where the victim believed the offender to be under the influence of alcohol (47% of all violent crime)2. 18% of violent incidents occurred in or around a pub or club3.

Alcohol dependence and treatment

In England in 2007 the prevalence of alcohol dependence was 5.9% (8.7% of men, 3.3% of women).4 For men, the highest levels of dependence were identified in those between the ages of 25 and 34 (16.8%), for women in those between the ages of 16 and 24 (9.8%). Most recorded dependence was categorised as mild (5.4%), with relatively few adults reporting symptoms of moderate or severe dependence (0.4% and 0.1% respectively).

The prevalence of alcohol dependence was lower for men in 2007 than in 2000, whereas it remained at a similar level in women.5

Only 6% of people with alcohol dependence access treatment each year.6

In 2013 183,810 prescriptions were given (in a primary care setting or NHS hospital,) for the treatment of alcohol dependency7. Overall, there has been a steady increase (80%) in the number of items prescribed in the last 10 years. In 2014, the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of these prescription items to treat alcohol dependency amounted to £3.43 million, an increase of £300,000 since 2013 and more than double the cost in 2004 (£1.52 million). The introduction of Nalmefene in 2013 will have contributed slightly to the increased cost. However, the majority of the increase is attributable to the increase in the number of items being prescribed.8

Hospital admissions

Based on a broad measure of alcohol-related hospital admissions:

In 2014/15, there were an estimated 1,085,830 admissions related to alcohol consumption in England, where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis.9 While comparability to previous years must be used with caution due to changes in recording practices over time, figures show this is an increase of 3% from 2014/15 when there were 1,059,210 estimated alcohol-related hospital admissions.10

Men were more likely to be admitted to hospital with alcohol related diseases, injuries and conditions than women (65% vs 35% of admissions).11

Based on a narrow measure of alcohol-related hospital admissions:

In 2014/15, there were an estimated 333,340 alcohol-related hospital admissions in England where the primary diagnosis or external causes recorded in secondary diagnosis fields were attributable to the consumption of alcohol – this is based on a revised, narrow measure.

As the narrow measure is less likely to be affected by changes in recording practices over time, data shows a similar level as in 2013/14 when there were 333,010 alcohol-related admissions, and a 32% increase from 2004/05 when there were 253,370 alcohol-related admissions.12

People admitted to hospital

Between 2012/13 and 2014/15, 12,637 under 18s in England were admitted to hospital because of alcohol – that’s a crude rate of 37 per 100,000population. This represents a 41% decrease in the number of people admitted since 2007/08 - 2009/10. (Alcohol-specific admissions – under 18 year olds).13

In 2014/15, 128,045 men and 63,325 women in England were admitted to hospital because of an alcohol specific condition. Combined, that is nearly 200,000 people, and represents a 9% increase since 2009/2010. (Alcohol-specific admission – males and females).14

Alcohol-related deaths

In 2014, there were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths in the UK, a small increase since 2013 (8,416) and 2012 (8,367) but slightly fewer than 2011 (8,748). 65% of alcohol-related deaths in 2014 were male.15

The 2014 age-standardised rate of 14.3 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people is lower than the peak level in 2008 (15.8 deaths per 100,000 people).  However, the 2014 rate remains considerably higher than the 1994 rate of 9.1 deaths per 100,000 people.16 

 

Figure 1. Age standardised alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 per population, UK, 1994 to 2014Figure 1. Age standardised alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 per population, UK, 1994 to 2014.17

In 2014, the age-specific alcohol-related death rate was highest among males aged 60-64 (47.6 deaths per 100,000) and among females aged 55 to 59 years (22.1 deaths per 100,000).18

Figure 2. Age-specific alcohol-related death rates per 100,000 males, UK, 1994 to 2014

Figure 2. Age-specific alcohol-related death rates per 100,000 males, UK, 1994 to 2014.19

Figure 3. Age-specific alcohol-related death rates per 100,000 females, UK, 1994 to 2014

Figure 3. Age-specific alcohol-related death rates per 100,000 females, UK, 1994 to 2014.20

 

In England, alcohol-related death rates for men were highest in the North East (24.2 per 100,000) and North West (25.5 per 100,000).  Alcohol-related death rates were lowest in the East of England (13.3 per 100,000) and South East (15.1 per 100,000).21

In England, alcohol-related death rates for women were highest among regions in the North East (15.1 per 100,000) and North West (13.4 per 100,000) and lowest among those in London  (6.8 per 100,000)22.Estimates suggest 37% of deaths from liver disease in England are as a result of alcohol-related liver disease, the most common cause of deaths from liver disease.23

Costs of alcohol harm

It is commonly said that alcohol harm costs society £21bn annually; taking into account £3.5bn costs to the NHS, £11bn in alcohol-related crime costs and £7.3bn in lost productivity.24 Note: the source and methodology of this calculation is unclear and has been challenged.25 26

Regional variances

Alcohol Concern has produced an interactive Alcohol Harm Map that provides local level statistics on a range of alcohol harm measures.  You can explore these local level statistics via the data visualisation tool on the Alcohol Concern website

References

1 Public Health England Local Alcohol Profiles for England [Online] Available from http://www.lape.org.uk/downloads/LAPE_LA_Dataset_PHE_280514_FINAL.xlsx [Accessed 19 November 2014].

2 ONS (2016) Crime statistics: Nature of crime tables, 2014/15 – violent crime. [Online] Available from https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/compendium/focusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/bulletintablesfocusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffencesyearendingmarch2015/03natureofcrimetablesyearendingmarch2015violencetcm774326921.xls [Accessed 17 February 2016].

3 ONS (2016) ibid

4 Health and Social Care Information Centre (2009) Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England – 2007, Results of a household survey. [Online] Available from: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/psychiatricmorbidity07 [Accessed 30 October 2014]

5 Ibid

6 Strang, J., Drummond, C., McNeill, A., Lader, M. and Marsden, J.,  (2014) Addictions, dependence and substance abuse. In: Davies, S Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013: Public Mental Health priorities: investing in the evidence. [Online] Available from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351629/Annual_report_2013_1.pdf  [Accessed 19 November 2014].

7 Prescription items give a measure of how often a prescriber has decided to write a prescription for the treatment of alcohol dependence. This is not a measure of the volume of drugs prescribed, as different practices may prescribe for different lengths of treatment.

8 Health and Social Care Information Centre (2015) Statistics on Alcohol:England, 2015. [Online] Available from: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB17712/alc-eng-2015-rep.pdf [Accessed 6th July 2015]

9 Public Health England (June 2016), Local Alcohol Profiles for England May 2016 update. Available here: http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/documents/LAPE_Statistical_tables_for_England_270416.xlsx [Online]. [Accessed 4 July 2016].

10 ibid

11 ibid

12 ibid

13 Public Health England Local Alcohol Profiles for England. June 2016 update. [Online] Available from http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data#page/9/gid/1938132984/pat/6/par/E12000004/ati/102/are/E06000015) [Accessed 4 July 2016].

14 ibid

15 ONS (2016) Alcohol-related deaths in the UK, registered in 2014 [Online] Available from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/bulletins/alcoholrelateddeathsintheunitedkingdom/registeredin2014 [Accessed 3 February 2016].

16 ibid

17 ibid

18 ibid

19 ONS (2016) Alcohol-related deaths in the UK, registered in 2014 [Online] Available from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/datasets/alcoholrelateddeathsintheukitsconstituentcountriesandregionsofengland

20 ONS (2016) Alcohol-related deaths in the UK, registered in 2014 [Online] Available from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/datasets/alcoholrelateddeathsintheukitsconstituentcountriesandregionsofengland

21 ONS (2016) Alcohol-related deaths in the UK, registered in 2014 [Online] Available from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/datasets/alcoholrelateddeathsintheukitsconstituentcountriesandregionsofengland

22 ibid

23 Effiong, K. Osinowo, A., Pring, A. et al (2012) Deaths from liver disease: Implications for end of life care in England. National End of Life Care Intelligence Network [Online] Available from http://www.endoflifecare-intelligence.org.uk/resources/publications/deaths_from_liver_disease [Accessed 27 November 2014].

24 Home Office (2012) Impact Assessment consultation: A minimum unit price for alcohol. [Online] Available from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/157763/ia-minimum-unit-pricing.pdf. [Accessed 18 November 2014]

25 Full Fact (2012) Does Britain lose £21 billion to alcohol abuse each year? [Online] Available from https://fullfact.org/factchecks/UK_alcohol_abuse_misuse_cost_21_billion-6848 [Accessed 25 November 2014]

26 Brown, P. (2014) Happy 10th birthday £21bn alcohol cost estimate! The Publican’s Morning Advertiser [Online] Available from http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Opinion/Pete-Brown/Happy-10th-birthday-21bn-alcohol-cost-estimate [Accessed 25 November 2014].