Local authorities, Police and NHS are counting the cost of alcohol harm
Shocking new research out last week (Friday 18 May) shows the negative impacts of alcohol – such as crime, antisocial behaviour and illness – is costing more than £55.65m per year in the Lancaster District.
In total this adds up to £3 billion across the North West per year.
Coun Karen Leytham, Lancaster City Council Cabinet member with responsibility for health, said: “As we drink more as a society, so the problems associated with alcohol rise. This is putting an unsustainable burden on our public services, as well as the economy.
”The report shows that alcohol related harm costs the NHS, Police, Local Authority and the economy a shocking amount – the equivalent of £394 per person for the local area.
“This is money that could be better spent, and of course it is not just the pounds that add up, the misery caused by excessive drinking is a great social cost too.”
Jacqui Thompson, Assistant Director of Public health at NHS North Lancashire said: “It is really important that we continue to work across organisations and with our communities to address the harms caused by alcohol misuse in Lancaster District”.
Chief Superintendent Richard Bayly, borough commander, said: “Excessive alcohol intake is often a contributing factor to crimes such as criminal damage, public disorder and violent attacks, in particular domestic abuse. At the same time, being drunk can lead people to be more susceptible to becoming a victim of crime as they are in a heightened vulnerable state.
"We are committed to tackling alcohol-related crime, not just because it will reduce policing costs but also because it will make Lancaster, Morecambe and the surrounding areas safer places to live in and visit.”
The research was launched at a national conference on alcohol last week by Drink Wise North West, which campaigns to reduce alcohol related harm in the region. Leaders attending the conference are expected to unite and call on David Cameron to take urgent action to curb the impact of cheap alcohol.
Hazel Parsons, Director of Drink Wise North West said: “Many of the problems caused by alcohol arise because it is so cheap. You can buy a pack of beer in a supermarket for less than the price of a bottle of water.
“That’s why it is so important that the Government introduces a minimum unit price of 50p. Research shows that this is the best way of saving lives, cutting crime and saving the public sector millions.”
For a copy of the report “The Cost of Alcohol to the North West Economy” or more information visit www.drinkwisenorthwest.org
Date Published: 23/05/12