Death by drink

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BOOZERS in St Helens are among the most likely in the country to drink themselves to death, grim new figures have revealed.

Alcohol accounted for 32 deaths in St Helens South and Whiston in 2010 - the third highest figure in the whole of England and Wales.

The figures, split into Parliamentary constituencies, included all deaths that were directly attributed to booze - such as alcohol poisoning, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

They excluded diseases that were merely linked to drink such as cancer of the liver, mouth and oesophagus.

Only Sunderland Central and Bootle in Liverpool recorded more booze-related deaths.

The worrying report, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, revealed that there were 8,790 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2010 - 126 more than in the previous year.

Although two thirds of those victims were men, the North West had the highest death rate among women, at 11.7 per 100,000.

Nine of the top ten booze boroughs were in the north of England.

A spokeswoman for NHS Halton and St Helens estimated that as many as one in four people in St Helens needed to reduce their alcohol intake to meet the current levels recommended by Government.

Regularly boozing above the daily limits of 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women increases the risk of 13 conditions, including liver disease and chronic pancreatitis - as well as 34 conditions which are partially attributed to alcohol misuse.

Collette Walsh, Head of Alcohol at the local Primary Care Trust (PCT), said: “People often underestimate the harm that alcohol misuse can cause and despite drinking at high levels do not identify with having a drink problem.

“The majority of alcohol attributable deaths are preventable. Help is available and there is no shame in seeking advice or support.”

The local PCT is set to join forces with St Helens Council this summer to launch an innovative recovery-orientated treatment system for adults in St Helens who either drink too much or use illegal drugs.

For the first time, people will be encouraged to address the underlying causes of their drug or alcohol misuse, supported by professionals, families and carers - and by peers who have experienced and successfully beaten addiction.

In the meantime, if you require help or advice you can contact your GP or the local Lifestyles Team on 01744 457 237. All advice is free and confidential. Alternatively go online at: www.healthimprovementteam.co.uk/our-services/alcohol