COUNCIL officials have said alcohol manufacturers and retailers should pay for the damage drink causes after latest figures revealed 151 drinkers died in the city in 12 months.
Data compiled by charity Alcohol Concern for 2012/13 revealed that on average 100 people died in the region because of alcohol, well below the number in Sunderland alone.
There were 83,733 alcohol-related hospital admissions and attendances in the city compared with the regional average of 51,234.
This cost of inpatient treatment cost Sunderland tax payers £4,612,000 compared with £3,465,000 on average for the North East as a whole.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, who is a champion for North East alcohol office Balance, said today: “Alcohol has a massive and disproportionate impact on our region.
“It costs us not only in lives but costs us million of pounds every year, in terms of damage to the structure of society.
“It leads to domestic violence, absenteeism from work.
“We really need to get to grips with the people who manufacture alcohol.
“Those who profit from the sale of alcohol should be made to pay for the harm they are causing to our communities.”
Balance director Colin Shevills added: “Our partners and frontline services work extremely hard to reduce the impact that alcohol has on the health and wellbeing of the North East.
“Despite this, alcohol-related hospital admissions remain a huge concern, as outlined in the new map of alcohol harms, and more needs to be done to reduce these figures.
“Alcohol is clearly costing us our health as well as costing the NHS millions of pounds each year. However, this doesn’t demonstrate the true economic cost when you look at the overall cost for policing and licensing, the cost to social services as well as the cost to the workplace and the wider economy. When you look at the wider picture alcohol is costing the North East around £1billion each year.
“However, this isn’t just about the figures – it’s important to recognise that these health harms are affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society including our children and young people, older people and those on the lowest incomes.
“This isn’t something that can be tackled at just a regional level and we need evidence-based measures such as a minimum unit price to help us to reduce this problem.”