ALCOHOL abuse is costing Brighton and Hove more than £100 million a year, a report has found.
The study into the impact of excessive drinking in the city showed the cost of tackling alcohol-related crime, including antisocial behaviour, as well as dealing with the effects of binge drinking on health and wellbeing, cost £107 million a year.
The figure is almost a third of the total amount alcohol contributes to the local economy.
The city has had high levels of alcohol-related health problems for years according to Brighton and Hove City Council.
New figures are expected to show alcohol disorder has fallen by 10% in the past year.
Green councillor Steph Powell, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said: “Cheap booze continues to have a huge impact upon policing, health and the local economy.
“We’ve called for an end to the cosy relationship between the Government and drinks manufacturers – as well as for a minimum price of alcohol to help encourage responsible drinking in our community pubs – who are suffering the effects of supermarkets undercutting their prices.
“In the meantime we’re working to build better relationships with local shops and cars, particularly around alcohol strength and preventing under-age sales.”
Alcohol abuse has many causes, according to the Community Alcohol Team at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including genetics, physiological, psychological and social factors.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s director of public health Tom Scanlon said the council has improved education and treatment services to tackle the problem and has also been working with bars and supermarkets on solutions.
He said: “For the last two years we have seen a fall in alcohol-related hospital admissions, and a drop in alcohol use by teenagers. This is good news for the city and encouraging for all of us engaged in what is a difficult area – a key part of our local economy and a significant public health challenge.”
Conservative councillor Dee Simson said: “In my view the key to getting to grips with this problem is to tackle pre-loading of alcohol, where people are able to buy cheap, high strength alcohol from their local shop which they consume before going out on the town.
“We have had some success with this through imposing licensing restrictions and turning down some applications, but as a council we are limited in what we can do.”