Alcohol: a public health priority
Alcohol has been identified as one of Public Health England's seven key priorities. After smoking and obesity, it is the biggest lifestyle risk factor for morbidity and mortality in the UK, accounting for 10% of disease and death. An estimated 9 million adults drink alcohol at levels detrimental to their health, with an estimated 1.6 million portraying signs of alcohol dependence. There is a misconception that drinking alcohol will only have a negative impact on health in those who binge drink or regularly get drunk. However, alcohol harms not only the individual drinker but also society as a whole, costing £21 billion a year, including annual direct costs to the NHS of £3.5 billion.