Shocking new statistics reveal an average of 10 people every day are turning up at A&E in Tayside for booze-related injuries.
The admission rates, described as “very worrying” by national charity Drinkaware, soared to 3651 people last year — almost 500 more than the total for 2016/17.
Those being treated include patients suffering from alcohol poisoning as well as victims of accidents, violence or crime.
NHS Tayside say the accident and emergency department at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital is being put under extra strain by drunk patients who are “frequently disruptive and uncooperative.”
The health board’s consultant in emergency medicine Dr Neil Nichol voiced frustration at the rise.
He said: “The effects of alcohol misuse are felt across the community and alcohol related attendances at A&E have increased from last year.
“Intoxicated people take up a substantial amount of ambulance service and police time, when these services are already under pressure.
“In the emergency department, intoxicated patients are frequently disruptive and uncooperative, distracting staff from caring for other patients and causing distress to other patients.”
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The figures, released by NHS Tayside through Freedom of Information legislation, also reveal 40 people died in its health facilities from alcohol-related causes last year.
Dr Neil Nichol added alcohol abuse has both short and long-term effects on individuals and services.
He said: “In the longer term, the risks of continuing to drink too much include dependence, mental health problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and various cancers.
“It is important to know the units of alcohol in your drinks and to look out for this on labels. Many people are unaware of how many units of alcohol they are drinking.
“Drinkers should try not to exceed the recommended daily guidelines of two units a day for women and three units for men and try to keep two consecutive days alcohol-free, each week.”
Ben Butler, Drinkaware director of content and communications said: “These figures of what appears to be an increase in alcohol-related visits to A&E in Tayside are very worrying.
“Alcohol when misused can have a costly impact not just on the health of individuals and their families but also on the resources of our hospitals and A&E departments.
“Binge drinking, for example, can be extremely dangerous. Our bodies can only process about one unit of alcohol an hour, and less for some people.
“Drink a lot in a short space of time and the amount of alcohol in the blood can stop the body from working properly.
“It also can lead to accident and injury as people are much more vulnerable when they are drunk.”
For free, confidential advice on alcohol and how to reduce alcohol intake call Drinkline free on 0300 123 1110 or visit www.drinkaware.co.uk