Nearly 25 per cent of UK adults are risking their health through hazardous drinking, according to the NHS Information Service.
Its figures estimate that a third of men and one-sixth of women are drinking at a level which puts them at risk of physical or psychological harm.
Within that group are harmful drinkers – 6 per cent of men and 2 per cent of women – who are likely to suffer damage such as liver disease or depression.
The latest figures also show a big rise in the numbers of people admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions. Deaths linked to drinking are also increasing, most of which (4,249 deaths) were from alcoholic liver disease.
‘Today’s figures clearly show that alcohol misuse is one of the most serious public health problems facing the UK’, said Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker.