Thirty-five people a day will die from alcohol abuse over next five years, experts say

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Tens of thousands of people in England will die from liver problems linked to heavy drinking in the next five years, new research suggests.

Experts have warned that almost 63,000 people will die due to alcohol misuse between 2017 and 2022 if the Government do not crack down on advertising alcoholic products and pricing.

Analysis from Sheffield University’s Alcohol Research Group also found that treatment for misuse will cost the NHS £16.74 billion within the same time frame.

Health charities are urging the Government to bring in minimum unit pricing of alcohol and advertising products to avoid what has been branded a “public health crisis” due to a spike in deaths caused by liver disease.

The university’s research group predict that 32,475 deaths – the equivalent of 35 a day – will be the result of liver cancer, with another 22,519 from alcoholic liver disease. 

According to Foundation for Liver Research, a group of medical health experts who are calling for tougher measures to limit alcohol harm, inaction by the Government is leading to avoidable deaths related to liver disease.

Liver disease claims about 12,000 lives per year in England alone, making it one of Britain’s biggest killers.

Since 1970, the number of deaths associated with it has risen by 400 per cent.

People who develop serious liver problems also suffer some of the worst health outcomes in western Europe, the Guardian reported.

Prof Roger Williams, a liver specialist who helped to treat Manchester United football legend George Best for problems with alcohol, told the newspaper: “Liver disease is a public health crisis that has been steadily unfolding before our eyes for a number of years now and the government will have to take robust action if its main causes – alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis – are to be controlled.”

He added: “Our new report strengthens the argument for intervention by revealing the full and alarming extent of the financial costs associated with inaction in these areas and setting out the economic benefits of addressing these risk factors.”

The academics have also produced new calculations showing that if a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol were introduced in England, within five years it would mean 1,150 fewer deaths due to drink.

They said it would also mean 74,500 fewer admissions to hospital due alcohol abuse, making £326m of savings for NHS and a £711m drop in the value of crime caused by drinking alcohol.

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