Essential facts, stats and quotes relating to alcohol use
Published on: 14th August 2015 | Updated on: 28th March 2022
This page contains facts, stats and quotes that LPC members may find useful when writing business cases or developing resources to support the commissioning of an alcohol intervention and brief advice (IBA) service.
This page is ‘work in progress’ and will continue to be updated with new facts, stats and quotes.
Facts, stats and quotes on other topics can be accessed on the Essential facts, stats and quotes page.
Breakdown of alcohol risk levels in adults
- In England in 2017, 16% of men and 21% of women said that they had not drunk any alcohol in the last year.
- In 2017 in England, 56% of men and 64% of women said that they had drunk in the last year and that their average weekly alcohol consumption was no more than 14 units.
- In 2017 in England, 24% of men said that their average weekly alcohol consumption was more than 14 units but no more than 50 units. 11% of women said that their average weekly alcohol consumption was more than 14 units but no more than 35 units.
- In 2017 in England, 4% of men said that their average weekly alcohol consumption was more than 50 units and 3% of women said that their average weekly alcohol consumption was more than 35 units.
Drinking habits of those who drank in the last week
- In 2017, 57% of adults (people aged 16 and over) in Great Britain said they drank alcohol at least once in the week before being interviewed.
- Between 2005 and 2017 the proportion of men who drank alcohol in the week before being interviewed fell from 72% to 62%, and the proportion of women fell from 57% to 52%.
- In 2017, among those in Great Britain who had drunk alcohol, 27% were classed as binge drinkers based on their heaviest drinking day in the week before being interviewed (28.7% of men and 25.6% of women). For men, this was defined as eight units or more on their heaviest drinking day and six units or more for women.
- In 2017, among men in Great Britain who had drunk alcohol in the last week, 51% had consumed between 4-8 units on their heaviest drinking day and further 29% drank more than eight units on their heaviest drinking day in the last week.
- Of women in Great Britain who consumed alcohol in last week in 2017, 52% consumed between 3–6 units on their heaviest drinking day and 26% drank more than six units on their heaviest drinking day.
- Between 2005 and 2017 in Great Britain, there was a fall in the proportion of men who were frequent drinkers (those who drank alcohol on at least five days in the week before being interviewed) from 22% to 12%, and in the proportion of women who did so from 13% to 8%.
- Drinkers aged 65+ years drink more frequently than any other group but young people drink more units on a single occasion. In 2017, people aged 65 and over in Great Britain were more likely than any other age group to have drunk alcohol on 5 or more days in the previous week (21% of men and 13% of women) compared to 1% of men and 2% women aged 16 to 24.
- In 2017, 48% of people aged 16-24 had consumed alcohol in the past week compared with 55% of those aged 65 and over. Of those young people aged 16 to 24 in Great Britain who drank in the last week, 33% of men and 27% of women drank more than 12 and 9 units respectively on their heaviest drinking day – meaning that, in that age group, 30% of all drinkers drank at this level—14% when non-drinkers are included. Of those aged 65 and over who drank in the last week, 6% of men and 3% of women drank more than 12 and 9 units respectively on their heaviest drinking day – meaning that, in this age group, 2% of everyone and 4% of all drinkers drank at this level.
- The prevalence of ‘increased risk’ drinking in England in 2017 was 28% of men and 14% of women. This included 4% of men and 3% of women whose drinking could be categorised as ‘higher risk’ (defined as 35 units and over for women and 50 units and over for men). For men and women, the age group with the highest prevalence of drinkers above the low-risk drinking guidance was 55 to 64 year olds; 28% of this age group drink more than 14 units a week.
- In 2016, the prevalence of hazardous drinking (defined as an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT] score between eight and 15) among men in England was 24%, with 3% categorised as harmful or mildly dependent (a score of 16-19), and 2% who were possibly dependent drinkers (a score of 20+). Among women, the prevalence of hazardous drinking was 13%, with 1% categorised as harmful and 1% as possibly dependent.
Office of National Statistics: Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2017 (December 2018)
- In 2017, there were 7,697 alcohol-specific deaths in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 12.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
- For the UK, alcohol-specific death rates have increased in recent years to similar rates observed in 2008 where they were at the highest recorded.
- Since the beginning of the time series in 2001, rates of alcohol-specific deaths among males have been more than double those observed among females (16.8 and 8.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2017 respectively).
- In 2017, alcohol-specific death rates were highest among 55- to 59-year-old females and 60- to 64-year-old males.
- Scotland remains the constituent country with the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths in 2017; yet Scotland was the only country to experience a statistically significant decrease in rates from 2001.
Hospital admissions: Deaths: Prescriptions relating to alcohol: Drinking prevalence:
Prescriptions relating to alcohol:
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