STAFFORDSHIRE has an “alcohol problem” with at least one in five residents regularly drinking too much, it is feared.
New figures show 20 per cent of all people aged 16 and above are drinking at a level which risks serious damage to their health.
The research, conducted by Alcohol Concern, rervealed that there were around 155,351 alcohol-related hospital admissions and 285 deaths blamed on alcohol a year in Staffordshire — both more than twice the West Midlands regional average.
It costs every county taxpayer £77 per year to pay for treating people made ill by alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: “It is a common perception that young people are responsible for the increasing cost of alcohol misuse, but our findings show that in reality this is not the case.
“It is the middle-aged and often middleclass drinkers, regularly drinking above recommended limits, who are actually requiring this complex and expensive NHS care.”
Last week, it was revealed how Staffordshire County Council had approved a partnership with Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire NHS, Safer and Stronger Communities Partnership and HM Prison Service that will invest £380,000 to tackle drug and alcohol problems.
The money will be used to build on the previous successes in treating people with addiction.
It will focus on preventing people from developing problems which could lead to ill health or even involvement in crime.
The funding will be used to help educate young people and their families about the dangers associated with drugs and alcohol.
The programme will also be expanded to target people who regularly drink too much but may not be experiencing immediate health problems.
Robert Marshall, cabinet member for public health and community safety, said: “The decision to pool budgets is a logical next step and will increase the impact we can have in relation to prevention and early intervention.”