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Alcohol, smoking and drugs


Little known about current levels of alcohol consumption amongst adults in Herefordshire, although it was previously similar to the national picture. Indications are that nationally overall levels of consumption increased during Covid lockdowns.

Following the national trend, alcohol-specific hospital admissions continue to rise, with 900 seen in 2019/20 with more men than women being admitted.

Nationally, people from the most deprived areas remain twice as likely be admitted to hospital and 50% more likely to die prematurely due to alcohol than those in the least deprived.

Alcohol related mortality has shown little change since 2016.

933 estimated admissions to hospital in 2019/20 where the main reason was attributable to alcohol: the same as in 2018/19 and 10% higher than in 2016/17.  More men than women were admitted where the main reason was attributable to alcohol: 68% of the patients were male.  68 deaths from alcohol related conditions in 2020:  the same as in 2019 and 10% lower than in 2016.

For more detail see Statistics on Alcohol, England 2021; Herefordshire Alcohol Needs Assessment 2019


The proportion of Herefordshire adults who smoke remains lower than seen nationally ess common than nationally, and has fallen by a third in recent years (to 2019/20). 

Smoking-related mortality has also fallen and is lower than nationally, although hospital admissions have remained stable.

However, there are still almost 20,000 smokers across the county, with those in the most deprived areas twice as likely to smoke and to die from smoking related conditions than those in the least deprived.

A significantly higher proportion of mothers in Herefordshire are known to be smokers at time of delivery (14%) compared to England as a whole (10%).

Although the number of smokers in Herefordshire setting a quit date has fall in recent years, in 2019/20 the figure (365) more than doubled compared to the previous year but remains lower than that reported nationally.

In 2019 12.3% of adults smoke, 12.6% in 2018.  The figure in 2011 was 17.6%.  There were 167 per 100,000 smoking attributable deaths in 2017/19 compared to 177 in 2016/18.  In 2013/15 the figure was 194 per 100,000.  1,859 hospital admissions attributable to smoking in 2019/20:  no significant change since 2015/16.

For more detail see Statistics on Smoking, England 2020; Local Tobacco Control Profiles


Opiate and crack cocaine use lower than nationally

In 2016/17 there were an estimated 719 opiate and/or crack cocaine users in Herefordshire which corresponds to a prevalence of 6.3 per 1,000 population which is significantly lower than that for England as a whole (8.9 per 1,000).

The proportion of those opiate users in Herefordshire undergoing drug treatment in 2017 who successfully completed treatment (8.1%) was higher than the national figure (6.5%), although not significantly so. In relation to non-opiate users the rate for successfully completing drug treatment was 27.8% locally, which was significantly lower than the England rate of 36.9%.

Drug misuse related mortality similar to national rate

Since 2006-08 over each three year period there have been on average 18.8 deaths related to drug misuse deaths; for the period 2016-2018 the figure was 19. This latter number corresponds to a mortality rate of 3.6 per 100,000 which was lower than that for England (4.5 per 100,000) although not significantly so.