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According to the latest government statistics, alcohol-releated deaths among British citizens aged 15-44 have tripled in the past 20 years -- including deaths from health problems, accidents and murders.

In the early 1980s only two percent of deaths among that age group were attributed to alcohol. The latest official statistics put that rate at six percent in 2001 and one health official blames the government for not implementing its own alcohol policy, according to DeHavilland Information Services.

Evan Harris, Liberal Democrats' health spokesperson, said as many as 240,000 lives may be lost since the government first developed its alcohol strategy in 1998 and when it will be implemented in 2004.

"Alcohol is one of the most dangerous and damaging drugs in Britain today," Dr. Harris said. "Excessive boozing kills four times as many people as drug abuse. It is one of the main causes of anti-social, aggressive and violent behaviour. It causes huge problems for the health service - for accident and emergency departments as well as doctors treating the effects of long-term alcohol abuse, such as liver damage and heart disease."

'There must be more research into the problem, better information and a structured alcohol strategy,' he added.

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