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.
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 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).
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.
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.