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»With the festive season fast approaching, a sobering picture of Islington’s battle with booze shows one in 20 deaths are linked to the bottle.

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Almost half of all domestic violence offences are booze-related and the borough has the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in London, making it one of the main health issues facing residents.

The figures come from Islington Council’s annual public health report, to find ways to tackle the epidemic of problem drinking sweeping the borough.

Other stark statistics from the document include:

n the highest rate of alcohol-specific death in men

n third highest rate of incapacity claimants whose main reason is alcoholism

n thirty percent of people who consume alcohol are thought to be drinking at high risk levels

Charlotte Ashton, assistant director of public health in Islington, said: “A big part of the problem is people don’t realise the dangers drinking can bring.

“Only 50 per cent understand how little low risk drinking is, half a bottle a night is way too much and can be really harmful.

“People know smoking is bad now, but drinking is part of the culture.” Excessive drinking can contribute to up to 100 different health conditions including high blood pressure, depression, cancer and heart disease.

She added: “One of the main things we can do is raise awareness, especially during the Christmas period when people can get carried away.

“I would advise people not to succumb to peer pressure, and if it’s your round why not get a soft drink that time?

“And if you do drink a lot at your Christmas party, try to not drink for 48 hours afterwards.”

Alcohol abuse is an ongoing problem in Islington. In September the town hall invited health experts, police and other emergency services to the borough’s first booze summit.

The council have also introduced stringent new licensing laws making it virtually impossible to open new bars in some parts of the borough.

Existing venues could also be hit with a late-night levy of up to £4,500 a year to help fund extra police patrols.

Ms Ashton said: “I support the way the council is looking at licensing and I think it’s important to develop entertainment like the theatre and cinema that aren’t just about drinking.”

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