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Portman Group welcomes binge drinking decline

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Portman Group has welcomed figures released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which show a decline in the levels of irresponsible drinking.

According to the ONS General Household Survey, 29% of the male population drank over 21 units a week in 2000 but this has dropped to 23% in the 2006 figures.

Binge drinking amongst 16-24-year-old men has continued to drop over the last 12 months and has stabilised in young women.

David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, said the development in long-term trends was "pleasing".

He added: "More people are now aware of the risks associated with harmful drinking and have changed their drinking accordingly.

"There is still a long way to go to eradicate the problems caused by alcohol misuse which remain deeply embedded in our culture. But the evidence suggests that the sensible drinking message is getting through to people."

Figures from the survey also highlighted the population's awareness of alcohol units has increased from 79% to 85% in the last decade.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, also welcomed the report.

He said: "The message of responsible drinking is continuing to get out as the long-term trends on alcohol consumption continue to improve. It is also clear that the vast majority of people drink sensibly and should not be punished for the sins of a small minority. It is further evidence that calls for increased taxation on alcoholic drinks are misdirected."