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Binge drink figures released.

OFFICIAL figures have revealed the extent of Middlesbrough's binge drinking culture.

NHS statistics rank Middlesbrough among the worst in the country when it comes to alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions.

The data from 2005-06 shows 845 women per 100,000 population were admitted to hospital with alcohol problems, making it third worst in the country behind Liverpool and Halton.

Men were not much better. They were ranked fourth worst behind Liverpool, Manchester and Knowsley with 1,539 admissions per 100,000.

The figures, obtained from patient entry records show the number of people taken to hospital as a result of their own or someone else's drinking has risen over the past five years.

Despite its high admissions health experts say Middlesbrough is leading the way when it comes to providing access to treatment and support for patients with alcohol related illness.

Staff at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough are now trained to identify alcohol misuse and refer patients to alcohol support workers in the Primary Alcohol Team.

Consultant in accident and emergency Dr David Pedley, pictured, said: "We are increasingly aware of the harm alcohol misuse can cause. The published figures are the tip of the iceberg. We work with the Primary Alcohol Team to challenge patients about their drinking and provide services to those who need help."

The Middlesbrough Alcohol Treatment Service also works closely alongside the Primary Alcohol Team taking referrals and working with people who still need help when leaving hospital.

The Friendship Alcohol Support Teammeets at The Albert Centre every Friday from 10am to noon, a women's group meets at Middlesbrough Addictive Behaviours Service on Tuesdays from 1pm to 2.30pm and there is a drop in session at Wellington House for its residents on Fridays from 1pm to 3pm.

Dr Peter Heywood, director of public health for Middlesbrough PCT and Middlesbrough Council said: "We're certainly concerned with the findings, which strengthens the view that alcohol is a major priority to address with all relevant partners across Middlesbrough.

"There are too many people who drink too much alcohol too often. We need to continue our efforts towards creating an environment where people can continue to enjoy the benefits of alcohol whilst continuing to drink in a safe and sensible manner."
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 19, 2007
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