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Statistics on Alcohol England 2014 released: Cost to NHS of alcohol dependency drugs tops £3m for the first time

The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of drugs for treating alcohol dependence reached a record high of £3.13m in 2013, a rise of 6.7 per cent on 2012 (£2.93 million).

Published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), Statistics on Alcohol England 2014 figures confirm the continuation of an upward trend in both the number and cost prescription items ordered to treat alcohol dependence, which have soared by 80 per cent since 2003.

This year’s report found that 183,810 prescription items were dispensed in the community in 2013, 3.1 per cent more than last year (178,247) and the highest number since records began.

The report states that the introduction of Nalmefene – the first medicine to be granted a licence for the reduction of alcohol in the UK – will have “contributed slightly” to increased costs in 2013. However, the majority of the rise in NIC is said to be attributable to the increase in the number of items.

There were over one million admissions related to alcohol consumption to hospitals in England in 2012/13 (1,008,850), where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis (broad measure).

Of those, males were more likely to be admitted to hospital with alcohol-related diseases, injuries and conditions than females, with 65 per cent of the overall admissions being male patients. However amongst under 16s, the opposite is true where females were more likely to be admitted to hospital with alcohol-related diseases, injuries and conditions than males, with females accounting for 55 per cent of all admissions.

There were 1,890 alcohol-related hospital admissions per 100,000 population in England. The rate of admissions was highest in the North East (2,500 per 100,000 population) and lowest in the South East (1,500/100,000 pop).

The Statistics on Alcohol in England report is an annual HSCIC report presenting a broad picture of health issues related to alcohol misuse, drinking habits and behaviours, drinking related ill health and mortality, affordability of alcohol and alcohol related costs. It forms part of a suite of statistical reports covering various aspects of health and social care including smoking, drug use and obesity, nutrition and physical activity.