People in this region are boozing their way to death at a faster rate than most of the rest of the country.

New figures reveal alcohol-related death rates in the West Midlands are the third highest out of the 9 English regions.

The rate is 13.3 in every 100,000 people, well above the UK average of 11.9.

Only the North East and North West regions in England have higher rates, with 15.8 and 14.2.

In national terms, Scotland’s rate is the biggest at 20.8, while Wales is 13.1 and England is 10.7.

The latest figures, produced by the Office of National Statistics, cover 2018.

There was a reduction in deaths compared to 2017, the first time the West Midlands figures had dropped for almost a decade.

In 2009 deaths stood at 649, or 12.6 in every 100,000. In 2017 that had risen to 739, or 13.5. Last year the total deaths fell by 7 to 732.

The death rate is much higher among men, at 18.1. In fact male death rates continued to rise in 2018, but a drop in female death rates has counteracted that to produce an overall fall for the year.

The female death rate fell significantly, from 9.5 to 8.6.

Last year 491 men died, and 241 women.

The figures are based on deaths that are known to be direct consequences of alcohol misuse, such as alcoholic liver disease.