THE Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area has the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions in Fife.

The Cowdenbeath Area Committee also heard last Wednesday that on average there were six alcohol related deaths each year in the area in the period 2014 to 2016.

A report prepared for councillors, by Rebecca Shovlin, provided these stark statistics which concerned the members of the committee.

Ms Shovlin said: "During 2016/2017 there were 348 admissions to hospital of Cowdenbeath area residents with an alcohol related diagnosis and as a rate per 100,000 population, it was the highest of all the seven area committee localities in Fife.

"Analysis of the data showed that nearly all these admissions were unplanned emergencies, men having much higher admission rates than women and admissions were more common among those living in deprived areas.

"Five parts of the Cowdenbeath area had alcohol related hospitalisation rates much higher than the Fife average, and in three of these, rates were more than double that reported for Fife as a whole."

Ms Shovlin also reported: "During 2016/17 there were 100 known alcohol related anti-social behaviour incidents in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area.

"Threatening and abusive behaviour was the was the most commonly recorded offence accounting for 44 per cent of all incidents, followed by assault which was 10 per cent.

"70 per cent of alcohol related anti-social behaviour incidents took place in residential locations and 18 per cent in public places."

She also tabled that the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly had 117 premises licensed to sell alcohol in the area and of these 51 of these were off-sales with this, she felt, having an effect on the statistics and added: "The Cowdenbeath area has the highest rate of off-sale premises per head of adult population in Fife and an on-sales rate just lower than the Fife average."

Councillors Alex Campbell and Darren Watt felt that it was simplistic to link the number of outlets to the level of problems stats.

Councillor Campbell added: "I firmly believe that the high levels of deprivation in our area are a reason for the statistics."

Committee chair, Councillor Linda Erskine, felt that one of the biggest worries for her was the anti-social behaviour caused by youngsters who were getting their hands on alcohol.

She said; "We have had incidents taking place in Cardenden, Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath in which drink has played its part.

"It has to be of concern how these children are getting their hands on booze and it is something that is needing to be tackled though it is often through home sources or people supplying them that they are getting their drink."

Each councillor was asked to contribute their views on how things are in their respective wards.