Alcohol-related deaths skyrocket

Alcohol-related deaths have skyrocketed over the past decade with Canterbury the worst plagued region, according to a coroners' review.

Coroners have noted that alcohol featured in the deaths of 1100 Kiwis over the last 10 years. The numbers across the country have risen from 41 in 2000 to 254 in 2008. The figures for last year are yet to be finalised but currently sit at 137.

In the review, released to The Press, Canterbury has been identified as having the highest rate of alcohol related deaths in the country with alcohol featuring in 246 deaths since 2000.

Numbers peaked nationwide in 2008, with more than seven alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people in the Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin regions. Auckland had a rate of 4.8 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people that year.

This follows statistics released last month by Chief Coroner Neil MacLean showing 12 teenagers, some barely out of childhood, had died from binge-drinking since July 1, 2007.

The issue had been in the spotlight after the death of Auckland schoolboy James Webster, who died in his sleep last month after consuming a bottle of vodka.

- NZPA

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