The Health Development Agency has updated its guidance on how to reduce and prevent alcohol misuse.
Its report examines interventions to combat the effects of alcohol and the burden placed by alcohol on the NHS.
In 2002, 27% of men and 17% of women aged 16 and over drank on average more than the recommended weekly safe amounts of 21 and 14 units respectively.
Some 40% of all A&E admissions and 150,000 hospital admissions were alcohol-related, it said.
It recommended behavioural counselling in healthcare settings, breath-test ignition systems on cars and introducing a lower legal maximum blood alcohol concentration to reduce alcohol-impaired crash deaths.