3,000 alcohol-related deaths since 2002

Figures show the number of alcohol-related deaths in a 10-year period.

Figures show the number of alcohol-related deaths in a 10-year period.

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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.