DEATHS from accidental alcohol poisoning in England and Wales have rocketed by more than 200 per cent in the last 10 years.
And now the Office for National Statistics has warned numbers are likely to rise even further in the wake of drinking craze, Neknominate, which is sweeping East Lancashire.
In the past decade there has been an 18 per cent rise in the number of people dying from liver disease, which now kills nearly 4,500 people a year, compared with 3,629 in 2002.
Health officials warned that participants in Neknominate are at risk of accidental alcohol poisioning, a condition which claimed the lives of 396 people in England and Wales compared with only 157 in 2007.
Five men have already lost their lives to the deadly social media drinking game that encourages players to outdo the previous challenger by downing a larger amount of alcohol than them or to complete the challenge in a more extreme setting.
The dare is filmed and then uploaded on to Facebook along with a ‘nomination’ for one or more of their friends.
The ONS said the misuse of alcohol has become a ‘serious and worsening public health problem’ in this country.
Researcher Olugbenga Olatunde said: “It is possible in the future we will get a lot more these deaths because of games like Neknominate.
“We are also seeing deaths from liver disease increasing and we are seeing it appearing in younger people, which suggests they are starting to drink from a younger age and are drinking stronger alcohol.”