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Alcohol misuse costing NHS £109m

People being admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol misuse is costing the Welsh NHS £109 million a year, it has been revealed.

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething said there are 34,000 admissions to hospital due to the problem each year while figures show 42% of adults in Wales report drinking more than the recommended guideline amount of alcohol at least once in the last week.

Speaking at a conference about alcohol-related brain damage in Cardiff, he confirmed that the Welsh Government will invest almost £50 million in 2015-16 in initiatives to tackle the harms associated with both alcohol and drug misuse.

Statistics released last month for alcohol-related deaths showed there were 467 deaths in Wales in 2013 while in 2012-13 about 21,700 males and 12,300 females were admitted to hospitals in Wales with alcohol-related conditions.

Mr Gething said: "Alcohol misuse is leading to a range of well-evidenced health and social harms, particularly for the significant minority of people who drink to excess and do not recognise the harm they are doing to themselves and others.

"While there has been an overall downward decline in the number of alcohol-related deaths in Wales since 2008, that people die as a result of consuming too much alcohol is still a stark reminder of the challenges we still face in tackling the causes and impact of substance misuse.

"Each of these deaths is a personal tragedy for the individuals and their family and friends, and illustrates the importance of having good-quality, responsive local alcohol treatment services."

The Welsh Government is currently looking into introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol in the country.

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