ALCOHOL HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS RISE 50%
Alcohol-related casualty admissions in the South West rose by 50% between 2001-5, according to a survey by the SW Public Health Observatory.
It also raised concerns about the number of young people drinking too much: the report estimated that 728,500 people aged from 16-64 in the region drink to "hazardous" levels and about 119,000 are dependent drinkers.
The number of under 18-year-olds admitted to hospital because of acute intoxication increased by 60% and by 140% in those aged 18-24 years old.
"Not only does it affect the health of the person misusing it at a massive cost to the health service, it also has a wider impact, affecting children, families, education, work productivity, crime and disorder,â€ť said Dr Gabriel Scally, regional director of public health at NHS South West.
"If alcohol-specific mortality rates and hospital admissions were reduced across the region to the rates experienced in the least deprived fifth of areas, 300 premature deaths and about 7,300 hospital admissions a year could be prevented."