ALCOHOL misuse is costing Darlington more than £41m a year, according to a report.
The equivalent of £408 for every man, woman and child in the town is spent tackling issues related to alcohol, according to research by the North-East alcohol office, Balance.
In 2011/12, the total cost of alcohol misuse in Darlington reached £41.1m, with the estimated cost for this year standing at £43.1m.
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The NHS spent £9.73m on alcohol-related issues in 2011/12 and recent figures show there were 2301 hospital admissions due to alcohol misuse in 2012/13.
There were also an estimated 10,056 alcohol-related crimes carried out in the North-East in 2011/12, with booze-related crime and licensing issues costing Darlington alone £14m.
Darlington workplaces and the wider economy suffered to the tune of £15.57m as a result of alcohol, while the local authority plunged £4.34m into social services cases involving drink.
Darlington councillor Veronica Copeland – who sits on the health and partnerships scrutiny committee – said the figures were shocking.
Calling for more to be done to tackle alcohol-related issues, she said: “It has a big impact locally. It can affect families through problems like domestic violence, drink-driving can be devastating and it affects employers and the employability of people – businesses will find it hard to grow if they have people with alcohol problems in their employ.
“We need to be having sensible discussions about drinking sensibly and we need to encourage people not to get out of control and if they feel they are getting out of control, encourage them to seek help and seek it early.”
According to Balance, one problematic alcohol mis-user costs society around £11,767 a year but every £1 invested in alcohol treatment saves £5 in the cost to society.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “These figures show that we’re all paying the price for alcohol misuse.
“We’ve seen a noticeable increase in the cost to the workplace and the wider economy, and this is in addition to the millions of pounds that continue to burden our health service, our police forces and our communities.
“Cheap alcohol that is too available and too heavily promoted is a fundamental factor in the damage we see and more needs to be done to reduce the alcohol harms that the region is forced to deal with on a daily basis.”