The number of alcohol-related deaths in the U.K. rose to 9,031 in 2008, up from 8,724 the year before although the amount being drunk has fallen slightly. Middle-class professionals drink more (13.8 units per week) than those on lower incomes (10.6 units). U.K. alcohol consumption started to fall in 2002 but because of the long-term damage caused by alcohol there is a lag in the number of deaths. The percentage of people buying alcohol from an off licence fell from 37% in 1998 to 27% in 2009 but the percentage buying from a supermarket rose from 25% to 29%. Meanwhile a separate reply by public-health minister Gillian Merron to a question in Parliament revealed that 12,832 children were admitted to hospital with alcohol-related conditions in 2008/9 down from 14,501 the year before. The highest number of admissions were in the North-West where there were 2,548 alcohol-related cases. Separate figures from the NHS Information Centre revealed how much children who do drink consume, ranging from an average 17.7 units (two bottles of wine) a week in the North East to 13.5 units in the South-East.
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