Neighbours Preston and South Ribble are poles apart in the drinking stakes, according to a sobering new report.
While the city has the second-highest number of hospital admissions in the Lancashire County Council area due to alcohol abuse, the district next door boasts the second-lowest rate per head of population.
The staggering contrast is revealed in a detailed document called Statistics on Alcohol in England, produced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The stark findings show the North West is one of the worst regions in the country for alcohol consumption, with Lancashire well above the national average for drink- related problems.
Preston came second only to Lancaster with 2,790 hospital admissions in the county during 2012/13. But even those figures pale in comparison with Lancashire’s two unitary authorities, where Blackpool recorded a figure of 4,200 admissions and Blackburn-with-Darwen 3,720.
Rural Ribble Valley had the lowest number of alcohol-related problems needing hospital care (1,040).
The report shows men are the worst culprits both nationally and locally when it comes to drinking to excess. In Lancashire they accounted for almost double the number of admissions of women (16,440 to 8,970).
In Preston it was 1,790 to 1,000, in South Ribble 1,230 to 740 and Lancaster’s 2,950 admissions were roughly two to one in favour of men.
Nationally the report says alcohol misuse is costing £3.5bn a year, or £120 for every taxpayer.