Number of drug prescriptions for alcohol addiction at all-time high

The number of prescriptions issued to treat alcohol addiction in England has increased by 75 per cent over the last nine years to hit an all-time high.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) claims that nearly 180,000 prescriptions were issued to patients with alcohol dependency in 2012 - the highest figure ever recorded.

Stats show the cost of these drugs stood at £2.93 million, up 18 per cent from the money spent in the previous year.

According to, the healthcare watchdog also says there were 1,230,300 hospital admissions related to alcohol in 2012. This is a one per cent rise from the figure in 2011 and a 41 per cent rise on the total in 2002 (142,000).

Alcohol Academy director James Morris states that while certain forms of medication can help people overcome their issues in this area, counselling courses would need to serve as a back-up to all forms of treatment.

He told "Prescription drugs can play a useful role in helping alcohol dependence for some. However, it is important to remember drugs rarely, if ever work without counselling or behavioural approaches."

Mr Morris warns that doctors must resist the urge to over-medicalise alcohol problems by sanctioning pill-only methods of treatment, as more important recovery mechanisms do exist.

"Cognitive and behavioural approaches, including peer support, as the most effective ways of achieved sustained recovery from addiction," he added.