One in eight deaths of UK adults under the age of 64 is caused by alcohol, an international conference on tackling problem drinking has heard.
The social cost of alcohol abuse has been estimated to be £240 a year for each European, with the annual bill for the NHS alone being £2.7bn.
A major conference of addiction specialists from across the world is meeting at Newcastle University and organisers have called for England to follow Scotland and set a minimum price per unit.
They have also demanded a ban on advertising alcohol.
Professor Eileen Kaner cited new research which showed one in eight UK deaths of people aged 15 to 64 was caused by alcohol.
In Europe, alcohol consumption is more than twice the global average and it represents the biggest addiction in the UK.
The Scottish Government announced on Monday it would implement a 50p per unit minimum charge.