May 30 2012 EXCLUSIVE by Tristan Stewart-Robertson
THOUSANDS of Glaswegians are being admitted to hospital with alcohol problems each year – and the number is rising.
New figures show more than 5000 people were affected in the city in 2010-2011 – with thousands more from surrounding areas.
Hundreds of patients had alcohol dependence and almost 3000 were treated for “harmful use”.
Experts warned there is a long way to go in battling the city’s problem with drink, but that the proposed 50p minimum unit price for alcohol may help.
Although Glasgow had seen some improvement in recent years, the latest statistics from data collected by ISD Scotland show a rise from the year before.
There were 1536 cases of acute intoxication, 2790 cases of harmful use, 756 cases of alcohol dependence and 1378 cases of alcohol psychoses. Amongst alcoholic liver disease, there were 1611 cases overall, with 472 cirrhosis.
With cases overlapping, the total discharges from hospitals for alcohol-related conditions was 8059 – up 238 from 2009-2010.
A total of 5088 patients accounted for these.
Jennifer Curran, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “These statistics show that we still have a long way to go in reducing the harm that individuals, families and communities in Glasgow are suffering because of their own or someone else’s drinking.
“The 50p minimum unit price will help to turn the tide on these levels of harm, with 60 fewer deaths and 1600 fewer hospital admissions in Scotland estimated in the first year.”
The statistics, published on Tuesday, showed more than 71 per cent of the cases were male, many in the 50-54 age group.
Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Director of Public Health, said: “Reducing excessive consumption of alcohol is one of the west of Scotland’s most significant public health priorities.
“We have been working jointly with a number of key partners to fight alcohol abuse and we are particularly focused on prevention and early intervention for those at risk of misusing alcohol and treatment and support for people who already have significant alcohol-related health problems.”