Fewer people in Shropshire abstain from alcohol than in other areas within England, it has been revealed.

The number of over 65s who are admitted to hospital with alcohol-related problems is also above the national average, while more crashes can be attributed to alcohol than in other areas.

Shropshire Council’s Health and Wellbeing board  was told that more needs to be done to promote the benefit of stopping drinking at any stage to help reverse liver damage.

A strategy will be launched early next year to tackle the problem.

Jayne Randall, responsible officer for alcohol strategy, told the board: “We need to really get the message out there that it is almost always not too late to stop drinking and reverse the damage on the liver.

“We think a lot of people think the damage is done and it is too late, but it almost never is too late to help work on regeneration.”

She added: “Nationally, alcohol consumption remains a key risk factor for ill-health and premature deaths.

“In Shropshire alcohol related hospital admissions for people aged 65 and over is above the national average for both men and women.

“Fewer adults in Shropshire abstain from drinking alcohol than other areas within England and alcohol related road traffic accidents remain above the England average.

“Following a review of this strategy it was agreed by the Shropshire Community Safety Partnership that the synergies between interventions to reduce alcohol related harm and drug misuse warranted a joint approach.

“A Shropshire Drug and Alcohol Strategy is currently been developed and is due to be published in April 2020.”

Ms Randall also had a warning about funding cuts.

“The budget to support the delivery of specialist alcohol and drug services was substantially reduced in 2019/2020 as part of the council’s saving plan and further reductions will compromise delivery and level of reach the service will have,” she added.

“There is a close relationship between levels of alcohol consumption and the prevalence of alcohol related harm and dependence.

“Since 1980 sales of alcohol has risen by 43 per cent, peaking in 2008, the increase in sales is driven by affordability, increased consumption by women and a shift in drinking location, the majority of alcohol is purchased from shops to be drunk at home.”

She added: “We don’t know how much we drink at home often. Measures can be very high compared to those in pubs.”