Number of people drinking excessively has almost doubled since just before lockdown

Experts have warned that the number of people drinking at high-risk levels has almost doubled since just before lockdown. Credit: PA

New figures have found a large rise in the number of people turning to alcohol to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Experts have warned that the number of people drinking at high-risk levels has almost doubled since just before lockdown.

4.8 million

People nationally were drinking alcohol at 'high risk' levels before lockdown

8.4 million

People nationally were drinking 'high risk' amounts of alcohol in June

Number of people turning to drink during lockdown doubled Credit: PA

There were around 4.8 million people drinking high levels of booze prior to lockdown.

That figure has now almost doubled with an estimated 8.4 million people now drinking excessively.

The Cumbria Alcohol Drug and Advisory Service says calls for people seeking support and advice about drinking have also risen.

25%

Cumbria's Alcohol Drug and Advisory Service saw 25% rise in calls for help

The report was carried out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The organisation has raised concerns that budget cuts to addiction services in recent years, will make many charities unable to cope with an influx of people in need of support.

Addiction services have been starved of funding in recent years meaning many are not able to treat and care for the huge numbers of people who are drinking at high risk. More lives will be needlessly lost to addiction unless the government acts now and commits to substantial investment in public health, including adult addiction services, in the spending review.

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

The college report is calling on the Government to reverse funding cuts and help local authorities work towards investing £374m into adult services.

They say the money is vital to combating the rise in demand for treatment and support.