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Decrease in irresponsible drinking, confirms NHS survey

Published:  05 December, 2018

The latest Health Survey for England has revealed a decline in UK adults drinking harmful levels of alcohol.

The NHS findings reaveled that the number of men and women drinking at “increased or higher risk" of harm - which it defines as more than 14 units per week - decreased between 2011 and 2017, falling from 34% to 28% for men and from 18% to 14% for women.

The average amount drunk in a week by adults was 11.8 units, with men drinking an average of 15 units compared to 8.6 units for women.

“These figures tell a positive story about responsible drinking, highlighting that in England the majority of people (60%) are drinking at low risk levels,” said Portman Group CEO John Timothy. “The number of people drinking over 14 units a week has fallen since 2011 and binge drinking has also declined in the long term. This again shows that it’s targeted help for higher risk drinkers that’s needed to make a difference.”

The NHS also said the number of children aged 8 to 15 reporting ever drinking an alcoholic drink, defined as a “whole drink, not just a sip”, dropped from 45% in 2003 to 14% in 2017.

The survey, published by NHS Digital on 4 December, covers the period between 1 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017 and questioned 7,997 adults aged 16 and over.