By politics.co.uk staff
Alcohol-related deaths in the UK shot up to 9,031 in 2008, from 8,724 in year before, new figures show.
"The increase in the number of people dying because of alcohol clearly shows we are facing a serious health crisis," said Liberal Democrat culture spokesman, Don Foster.
"The easy availability of cheap alcohol is encouraging ever greater numbers of people to drink unsafe amounts."
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures also confirm previous trends seen in drinking.
Middle class professionals remain the heaviest drinkers, for instance. A professional adult in the UK now drinks 13.8 units a week, compared to 10.6 for someone doing a manual job.
Surprisingly, the actually amount of alcohol being drunk in the country has fallen slightly.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "These worrying figures are a sad indictment of our broken society and demonstrate Labour's complete failure to tackle binge drinking.
"Labour's irresponsible decision to roll out 24-hour drinking on our towns and communities while at the same time failing to deal with the problems caused by over drinking has caused great harm, particularly amongst younger people."
A separate ONS report also showed that the heaviest drinking takes place at home, rather than in bars, pubs or clubs.