Alcohol consumption is England’s second biggest cause of premature death behind tobacco use. Regular heavy drinking and binge-drinking behaviours are associated with a whole range of issues including anti-social behaviour, and increased risk of physical and mental health problems. Long-term alcohol misuse is linked to a range of cancers, chronic liver disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and can have a massive impact on the social wellbeing of a person, their family and friends.

As well as causing serious health problems, long-term alcohol misuse can lead to social problems such as unemployment, divorce, domestic abuse and homelessness. Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase the likelihood of a person having unprotected sex. This can potentially lead to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. 

Key figures for Lancashire-14

The Local Alcohol Profiles for England provide local data alongside national comparisons to support local health improvement. The rates below are directly standardised (DSR) and are per 100,000 of the population (all ages unless stated). 

Between 2013/14 and 2015/16, 421 under-18s were admitted to hospital for alcohol-specific conditions giving the Lancashire-12 area an admission rate of 57.3, significantly above the England national rate of 37.4. Burnley (98.7), Wyre (85.9), Lancaster (73.5) and West Lancashire (67.2) all recorded rates that were significantly above the national average. This was also the picture for the unitary authorities of Blackpool (87.8) and Blackburn with Darwen (56.5).

The Lancashire-12 rate of alcohol-related conditions (narrow) admission episodes (669) in 2015/16 was significantly higher than the England national rate (647). The districts of Lancaster (803), Burnley (802) and Wyre (752) also had significantly higher rates than England, as did Blackpool (1,163) and Blackburn with Darwen (826).

For alcohol-related conditions (broad) admission episodes, the Lancashire-12 rate of 2,395 was significantly above the England rate (2,179). At a district level Burnley (3,179), Hyndburn (2,951), Pendle (2,748), Lancaster (2,488), Preston (2,468), Rossendale (2,459) and Wyre (2,288) also recorded rates significantly above England (2015/16). Blackpool (3,544) and Blackburn with Darwen (3,342) also recorded significantly higher rates.

The latest three-year (2014-16) alcohol-specific mortality figures show that there were 436 deaths across Lancashire-12, giving the area a rate of 12.3, significantly above the national rate of 10.4. At a district level, Lancaster (15.2), Preston (16.3), South Ribble (15.2) and Wyre (16.4) all recorded rates that are significantly above the England rate. Blackpool (28.6) also recorded a rate significantly above the national average, whilst Blackburn with Darwen (13.6) recorded a rate in line with it

The alcohol-related mortality indicator, which focuses on a wider range of illnesses, shows that there were 588 such deaths across Lancashire-12 in 2016, giving the area a rate of 49.5, in line with the England rate of 46. Both Blackpool (86.0) and Blackburn with Darwen (59.5) recorded rates significantly above the national average.

Local intelligence

Social care support

During 2015/16 Lancashire County Council supported a total of 370 clients who were recorded as being either dependent or hazardous drinkers.

Safer Lancashire

Figures from the multi-agency data exchange (MADE) show that in 2015/16 there were a total of 7,997 police incidents with a recorded alcohol qualifier, representing a 10% (899) drop on the previous year's figure (8,896).

Hospital admissions

Analysis of local hospital activity found that the six clinical commissioning groups in Lancashire-12 recorded a total of 2,232 alcohol-specific planned admissions and 6,618 unplanned admissions during the financial year 2015/16. Further analysis showed 85% of the unplanned admissions had come via urgent care, highlighting the impact alcohol has on secondary care resources. Almost half (3,005) of all unplanned admissions involved persons aged 40-59, while 67% (4,403) were male and 60% (3,979) came from the most deprived areas of Lancashire-12 (Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015 quintiles 1 and 2).


An extract of locally held mortality data identified 1,603 deaths that were considered to be wholly attributable to alcohol (alcohol-specific) recorded between 2007 and 2016 in Lancashire-12. Further analysis found:

  • There is an average of 147 alcohol-specific deaths across the Lancashire-12 each year.
  • 15% (245) of those who died came from Preston, 13% (210) were from Lancaster and 10% (162) from Wyre.
  • 71% (1,131) of deaths occurred among those aged 45-69, with the average age being 55.
  • 65% (1,040) of those that died were male.
  • Over half (58%, 924) of those who died were from the most deprived areas of Lancashire-12 (Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015, quintiles 1 and 2).
  • 74% (1,190) of deaths occurred in a hospital setting.
  • 89% (1,429) were coded under the ICD-10 block Diseases of liver (K70-K77), which refers to diseases such as alcoholic liver disease, alcoholic hepatic failure and alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, highlighting that these deaths are likely to be due to long term excessive alcohol exposure.

Lancashire County Council's trading standards take part in a north west wide survey of 14-17-year-olds on the subject of alcohol and tobacco use. Almost 750 respondents from Lancashire completed the online survey (Jan-Mar 2017) and the findings are available in the further analysis section below.

The health behaviours JSNA report (2015) provides further insight into alcohol use (and other lifestyle behaviours) in Lancashire-12. It identifies priorities and recommendations around alcohol for Lancashire-12, with individual district and clinical commissioning group profiles also available.

Further analysis

Young people's alcohol and tobacco survey 2017 (PDF 1.0 MB)

Health Behaviours JSNA alcohol extract (PDF 449 KB)

Health Behaviours JSNA final report (PDF 1.9 MB)

Page updated November 2017