Many people enjoy drinking alcohol - it is often part of our social and family life. However, it is easy to sometimes drink too much, and for drinking to sometimes get out of control, and the misuse of alcohol – especially amongst young people - is a growing problem.
Alcohol is reported to be the third highest risk to health in Europe – behind tobacco and high blood pressure.
Alcohol is estimated to be responsible for about 33,000 deaths each year in the UK. Around 1/3 (31%) of men and 1 in 5 (20%) of women are regularly drinking more than the advised limits. Alcohol-related admissions to hospital have increased dramatically in recent years – for example, in the South West admissions increased by more than 50% between 2001 and 2005; admissions for 18 – 24 year olds related to alcohol increased by 140% between 1998 and 2004. In Somerset in 2008 over 8,000 admissions to hospital were linked to alcohol use.
About half of all violent crimes and a high proportion of domestic violence incidents are linked to alcohol.