Almost 3,000 people in Northern Ireland have died from alcohol-related illness over the past decade, it was revealed.
Health Minister Edwin Poots is considering imposing a minimum price on cheap alcohol to protect young people, and doctors have warned of the health dangers of binge drinking.
A total of 2,849 people, two-thirds of them men, died from 2002 to 2012, a report from the official statistics agency revealed. Illnesses like liver disease contribute to the toll.
That included 270 deaths in 2012, compared with 238 a decade earlier and 252 in 2011, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
Mr Poots has ordered a report on the impact a minimum price for alcohol would have on Northern Ireland.
The move comes after more than 100 young people were treated for the effects of alcohol at a DJ Hardwell concert in Belfast’s Odyssey Arena earlier this month.
The ambulance service declared the scene outside the venue a major incident.
The minister said he was concerned about the availability of alcohol at “pocket money prices”.
He expects the report to be completed within the next few months.