The harm caused by alcohol is costing Southampton £171.5million every year, according to research.

Figures have been compiled which detail the impact alcohol has on the NHS, social care services, crime and wider economy.

The research by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) found that overall this equated to £694 per person in Southampton – the sixth highest rate of all local authorities in the country and the fourth largest excluding London boroughs.

Public health leaders in the city said the figures were a reflection of practitioners’ “very thorough” identification and recording of alcohol usage among patients.

The IAS analysis reported that there had been an increase of more than 40 per cent in the total cost of alcohol-related harm nationally since a study was last carried out in 2003.

The yearly £171.5million cost to Southampton is made up of a £29.2million pressure on the NHS and healthcare through factors like hospital admissions, A&E visits and ambulance call-outs. The largest impact area is crime and disorder with £101.2million, with money spent on crime detection and prevention, the cost of stolen and damaged property, and the finances involved with the police and criminal justice system.

The rest of the impact is made up of £16.6million on social services and £24.5million on the wider economy.

Debbie Chase, Southampton City Council’s director of public health, said: “Like many cities, Southampton experiences alcohol-related harm due to various factors.

“The numbers quoted in the Institute of Alcohol Studies research reflect the fact that health practitioners in Southampton are very thorough in identifying and recording patients’ alcohol usage.

“Our tobacco, alcohol and drugs strategy describes our work to keep people well and reduce alcohol-related harm.

“Our wide range of actions includes prevention, licensing and commissioning treatment and support. Progress is monitored at our health and wellbeing board.”

Ms Chase said anyone who is worried about their drinking, or anyone else’s drinking, should visit the council’s dedicated alcohol webpage ( and reach out for help.

She added: “The local services we fund are free, confidential and very supportive. They help hundreds of people a year to control their drinking and to cut down or stop, depending on what each person wants.”

The tobacco, alcohol and drugs strategy covers a five-year period, which started last year.

It sets out how Southampton City Council will reduce the harm to people who use tobacco, alcohol and drugs, as well as harm to people around them and across the city as a whole.

Earlier this year, members of the health and wellbeing board were told an extensive hospital screening programme was picking up alcohol-related admissions in Southampton that would be missed in other cities.

The latest data, which pre-dated the start of the strategy and provided a baseline, showed the rate of alcohol-related admissions in the city was 676.9 per 100,000 people – this compared to 493.9 per 100,000 across England.