Alcohol abuse ‘costing NI £700m each year’

An independent report has said excessive drinking costs the public purse in Northern Ireland almost £700m a year.

The figures were worked out by a team of consultants commissioned by the Department of Health.

Among the costs they estimate are £224m a year for the police and fire services and £122m for the NHS.

According to the report the cost to the economy – through the likes of days lost at work – is £202m per year.

The extra work for the criminal justice system amounts to £84m and social services £49m, the report says.