Drinkaware responds to NHS Digital statistics on alcohol in England 2020

358,000 admissions to hospital in 2018/19 where the main reason was due to drinking alcohol: 6% higher than 2017/18 and 19% higher than 2008/9.

5 February 2020

Drinkaware CEO Elaine Hindal said: “The figures released yesterday by NHS Digital demonstrate the devastating impact that alcohol can have on people’s health.

“Drinkaware’s research shows that one in four people drink more than the recommended guideline of 14 units per week, and almost one in seven are defined as high risk or possibly dependent. This means that literally millions of UK drinkers are at risk of damaging their health in the long-term unless they cut down.

“In addition, while we know from our own research that more young people are choosing not to drink alcohol at all, people aged 45 to 75, if they do drink alcohol, tend to drink more than is recommended.

“Today’s figures from NHS Digital show that the reality is, hundreds of thousands of people in England needed hospital care as a result of drinking alcohol. And 40 percent of those patients were aged between 45 and 64.

“Much more needs to be done to specifically support people who drink harmful amounts of alcohol, to reduce health harms, hospital admissions and preventable loss of life caused by drinking. This includes, for example, more consistent information about alcohol given to patients through NHS Health Checks and national screening programmes.

“Drinkaware’s mission is to help people make better choices about their drinking and arm them with advice and facts against harmful drinking. We will continue to invest in campaigns such as our Drink Free Days campaign, research and tools that specifically target harmful drinkers to help them cut down in order to help reduce alcohol harm.”

NOTE: Drinkaware defines harmful drinking using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) scoring system. A risk score is determined by the following brackets: ‘low risk’ (scoring 0-4 through the AUDIT-C questionnaire); ‘increasing risk’ drinkers scoring 5-7, and ‘higher risk’ drinkers scoring 8-12. Within the higher risk category we also look at the subset scoring 11-12, defined as ‘possible dependence’. Scoring is based on how often people have a drink containing alcohol, how many units of alcohol people drink on a typical day when drinking and how often people have had six or more units if female, or 8 or more if male, on a single occasion in the last year.

Drinkaware data taken from the Drinkaware Monitor 2018. Among people who drink, those aged between 45 and 75 are more likely to exceed the weekly guidelines than other age groups. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/research/our-research-and-evaluation-reports/drinkaware-monitor-2018-drinking-behaviour-and-moderation/

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