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Quarter of Britons 'hazardous drinkers'

ALMOST a quarter of Britons are "hazardous drinkers" and hundreds of thousands more people are being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related reasons than five years ago, according to official figures.

Statistics for 2007 showed that 33 percent of men and 16 percent of women drank potentially dangerous amounts, the NHS Information Centre said.

Another 6 percent of men and 2 percent of women were harmful drinkers.

"Hazardous drinking" was defined as consumption which could bring about the risk of physical or psychological harm, while "harmful drinking" was described as likely to cause problems.

The report is the latest to show that many Britons consume too much alcohol, causing health problems and suspicion that it has led to rises in anti-social behavior and violence.

The government estimates that alcohol-related injuries and illnesses cost the state health system around 2.7 billion pounds (US$4.1 billion) a year.

The latest figures showed there were 863,300 alcohol-related admissions to hospital in 2007, 69 percent more than in 2002.

The number of deaths directly linked to alcohol was also up to 6,541, a rise of 19 percent since 2001, with liver disease the biggest killer.

The survey echoed recent findings that fewer children were drinking. One in five school pupils aged 11 to 15 said they had drunk alcohol in the week before being interviewed, down from 26 percent in 2001.

The government has been running a series of information campaigns to warn about excessive drinking.


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