Alcohol-related harm is a major health problem. As many as 27% of men and 13% of women in England drink alcohol in a way that presents an increasing risk to their health and wellbeing. Alcohol use has health and social consequences borne by individuals, their families, and the wider community. Harms to individuals from excessive drinking can be acute (immediate) or chronic (long term). The World Health Organisation (WHO) places alcohol as the third biggest global risk for burden of disease and is identified as a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions (figure 1) (Health Survey for England (HSE) 2015, NHS Digital). The main health consequences of alcohol misuse are liver disease, cancers (liver, oral, oesophageal, gastric, colon, breast), hypertension, stroke, acute intoxication and injuries. Additionally there are psychiatric consequences such as depression and self-harm, as well as impact on the foetus.


Key Messages (Consumption of Alcohol in County Durham, 2011-14. Source: PHE):

  • Levels of alcohol harm are greater in County Durham than England. For all of the six key indicators highlighted in the 2018 Local Alcohol Profile covering hospital admission rates and mortality rates County Durham is statistically significantly higher than England.  However, rates in County Durham are statistically significantly lower than the North East for 3 of these key measures (admission episodes for alcohol-related conditions [broad and narrow], and admission episodes for alcohol-specific conditions),
  • Estimates suggest that 1.7% of adults in County Durham are dependent drinkers; this equates to around 7,000 people,
  • 24% of adults in County Durham binge drink compared to 17% across England,
  • 20% of 15 year olds have been drunk in the last four weeks, England it was 15%,
  • The overall cost of alcohol harm in County Durham was estimated to be £181.6m; this equated to £349 per head of population (2015/16).

Links to Data