2018 Alcohol stats

There were 5,507 alcohol-specific deaths in England in 2016, a 4 per cent increase from 2015 and an increase of 11 per cent on 2006.

Alcohol facts & figures

This year’s official Statistics on Alcohol in England has just (1 May 2018) been published by NHS Digital. The report pulls together new and existing information from a range of sources to provide an up-to-date compendium of alcohol facts and figures.

I pull out some of the key findings below.

Drinking habits

The report reveals our continuing slow reduction in the amount we drink as a society, led by a big reduction in young people’s drinking. 58% people aged 16 years or older reported drinking alcohol in the previous week in 2017 – down from 65% in 2007. The proportion drinking more than 8 units (men) or 6 units (women) on their heaviest drinking day in the last week has fallen in the last 10 years for those aged 16-24 and 25-44 but stayed the same for older people.

Alcohol-related hospital admissions

In 2016/17 there were 337,000 admissions where the main reason for admission to hospital was attributable to alcohol; representing 2.1% of all hospital admissions. This is down 1% on 2015/16 but 17% higher than a decade earlier – revealing the impact of our high levels of consumption for so many years. 62% of these alcohol-related admissions are for men and 39% for those aged between 45 and 64.

Alcohol-specific deaths

Alcohol misuse can be directly attributed to deaths from certain types of disease such as alcoholic liver disease, alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders, accidental alcohol poisoning, alcoholic cardiomyopathy and alcohol-induced pancreatitis.

In England  in 2016, there were 5,507 alcohol-specific deaths, a 4 per cent increase from 2015 and an increase of 11 per cent on 2006. The alcohol-specific age-standardised death rates per 100,000 population were 14.5 for males, twice the rate for females (6.8).

Drink-drive

Provisional estimates for 2016 show that 240 people died in Great Britain in accidents where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.

An estimated 9,050 people where killed or injured when at least one driver was over the limit; 5% of all reported road casualties and the highest number since 2012.

Expenditure

Britons spent an average of £3.36 per week on alcohol consumed in the home and £3.07 on alcohol consumed out in 2016/17. In real terms, household spending on alcohol drinks rose by 2.8% over the previous four year and by 1.7% for alcohol consumed when going out.

Interestingly, alcohol has become more affordable over the last decade (the price of alcohol has gone up 0.8% compared to other retail items but adult disposable income has increased by 1.9%). 

This echoes the long term trend by which alcohol has become 64% more affordable since 1980, one of the drivers behind Scotland’s recent (1 May 2018) introduction of alcohol minimum pricing.

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