ALCOHOL-RELATED diseases are killing almost twice as many women as at the beginning of the 1990s, official figures to be published tomorrow will show.
In the 35-54 age group, about 14 women per 100,000 die from conditions such as liver failure and cirrhosis, well above the European average.
The report from the Office for National Statistics on health trends since the 1970s will also reveal just how badly “casual alcoholism” has hit the British population.
Thirty years ago death rates for men and women were about two per 100,000, the lowest in western Europe. The figure for men is now 18, although this is still less than the European average.
Ireland, France and Spain consume more alcohol per head than Britain, but deaths from alcohol-related diseases are far lower, suggesting that Britain’s problem is related to a culture of binge drinking and casual alcoholism.
The sharp upward trend since the early 1990s is attributed by experts to people having more spending money, drinks being cheaper since the introduction of the European single market, and pubs and off-licences staying open longer.
Gordon Brown has signalled that curbing alcohol abuse is one of his top priorities, and has ordered a review of the rules allowing 24-hour opening of pubs and drink shops.
He has also ordered the Home Office to prepare a preChristmas “blitz” on retailers who sell alcohol to drunks and underage drinkers.