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Britain sees double for binge drinking compared to global average

It’s official, us Brits are among the heaviest drinkers in the world. The worrying statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are that our overall alcoholic intake and monthly binge drinking sessions are twice the average global rate. If you think you have a serious alcohol problem, call Port of Call today and we can help you find a rehab that suits you best. 

Alcohol effects

According to the WHO’s findings, an alarming 28% of Britons admitted to partaking in a binge drinking session (more than six units, or three pints of lager, on one occasion) in the previous month compared to the world average of 16%. That makes us the 13th heaviest drinkers out of 196 countries studied.

If that wasn’t enough, as the rest of the world partakes in an average annual intake of 6.2 litres of pure alcohol, here in Britain we’re weighing in with double measures – a staggering 11.6 litres per adult. That places us in the upper quartile (25th in the world) for our above average alcohol consumption.

Britain’s surprise binge drinkers

It might surprise you to know which age group is among the most heavyweight binge drinkers in British society today. It is in fact pensioners who are apparently now almost twice as likely as students to drink at home every day, according to research from consumer analysts, Mintel.

Nearly one in five baby boomers aged over-65 admits to drinking alcohol at home every day. While 42% will happily do so several times a week. Compare that to just over one in ten people aged 18 to 24 indulging in a daily drink at home and less than a third doing so twice a week or more.

Just over a quarter of adults claimed to have cut back on their drinking habits at home over the past year and a similar number have curtailed their drinking away from home as well. Interestingly, with constant reports of teen and twenty-something binge drinkers, the over-65s are among the least likely to cut back on how their drinking at home (22%).

The effects of alcohol pricing

One potential way to reverse these worrying trends is higher minimum alcohol pricing. Research by the University of Sheffield, published by bmj.com, has suggested that minimum pricing of alcohol could be 50 times more effective than the Government’s policy of banning loss leader sales.

By their calculations below cost selling would reduce harmful drinkers’ mean annual consumption by just 0.08 percent. That’s the equivalent of about three units a year. In sharp contrast, a 45p minimum unit price could reduce consumption by as much as 3.7% or 137 units a year. A 45-times more effective outcome.

Perhaps not surprisingly then, a ban on below cost selling is likely to return a minimal impact on the health of the nation. An estimated 14 deaths and 500 admissions to hospital would be saved each year. Measure that against the 624 deaths and 23,700 hospital admissions that a 45p minimum unit price could save and the argument in favour of stronger pricing is surely a no-brainer.

The effects of binge drinking alcohol

The NHS and National Office of Statistics definition of ‘binge drinking’ is drinking more than double the lower risk guidelines for alcohol in one session. That’s more than eight units of alcohol – or about three pints of strong beer – for men. For women, it’s more than six units of alcohol or two large glasses of wine.

Binge drinking is a major factor in accidents, violence and anti-social behaviour. The effects of excessive alcohol include risky behaviours, including a higher chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Not to mention the health effects, such as liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart attack.

Do you know someone who needs help with their drinking? Are you worried about the amount that you are drinking? We could help find the right alcohol rehab for you. Contact Port of Call today for a free and confidential assessment on 08000029010 or email help@portofcall.com.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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