Go Sober For October – Alcohol the Facts!

These facts will scare the temptation of that G&T or that glass of wine from you!  With ‘Go Sober for October’ campaign beginning for McMillan Cancer Support, Women UK look at the real facts around Alcohol and our British nation. There was a recent study that revealed all alcohol is now bad for you, we look at some pretty frightening statistics…..

  • In the UK, in 2015 there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths (around 14 per 100,000 people). The mortality rates are highest among people aged 55-64.
  • In England, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers, of whom only 108,696 are currently accessing treatment.
  • Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.
  • Alcohol harms are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.
  • While the price of alcohol has increased by 36% since 2005, it remains 60% more affordable than it was in 1980.

Alcohol and Health

  • Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression
  • In the UK in 2014-5, there were an estimated 1.1 million hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis. In the same period there were 339,000 admissions for conditions directly caused by alcohol.
  • Males accounted for approximately 65% of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2014.
  • The alcohol-related mortality rate of men in the most disadvantaged socio-economic class is 3.5 times higher than for men in the least disadvantaged class, while for women the figure is 5.7 times higher.
  • In England and Wales, 63% of all alcohol-related deaths in 2014 were caused by alcoholic liver disease.
  • Liver disease is one of the few major causes of premature mortality that is increasing, and deaths have increased by around 40% in a decade.
  • The number of older people between the ages of 60 and 74 admitted to hospitals in England with mental and behavioural disorders associated with alcohol use has risen by over 150% in the past ten years, while the figure for 15-59 years old has increased by 94%


  • Of the estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers in England, 108,696 were in treatment in 2016-17 for alcohol and alcohol and other non-opiates.
  • Around 61% of people seeking treatment for alcohol completed successfully.
  • The median age for people in alcohol treatment is 46.
  • 9,274 people in treatment are aged 60 years and over (12% of the total).
  • In 2015, 196,000 prescriptions for drugs to treat alcohol misuse were prescribed, costing around £3.9 million. This is double the number in 2005.
  • Approximately 55% of clients starting treatment were self-referrals. 15% were referrals from general practitioners (GPs), with other referrals from hospitals, social care and other services.


  • Victims believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol in over half (53%) of all violent incidents, or 704,000 offences.
  • 64% of stranger violence, and 70% of violent incidents in the weekends, evenings and night are alcohol-related.
  • Alcohol-related crime in the UK is estimated to cost between £8bn and £13bn per year.
  • In 2015, there were over 8,000 casualties of drink driving accidents in the UK in 2013, including 220 fatalities and 1,160 serious injuries.

Drinking Behaviour

  • Since 2005, the overall amount of alcohol consumed in the UK, the proportion of people reporting drinking, and the amount drinkers report consuming have all fallen. This trend is especially pronounced among younger drinkers.
  • 8 million people drank over 6 units (for women) or 8 units (for men) on their heaviest drinking day.
  • 77% of the highest earners report drinking in the previous week, compared to less than 45% of the lowest earners.
  • People in the South West of England are the most likely to report drinking in the last week, while those in the North East are most likely to binge when they do drink.

Young People

  • In 2014, 38% of school pupils (aged 11-15) said that they had drunk alcohol at least once, down from 62% in 1988. Of these, 8% of 11 year-olds reporting ever having drunk alcohol, compared to 69% of 15 year-olds.
  • 1% of 11 year-olds and 18% of 15 year-olds report drinking in the previous week. Mean consumption for 14 year-olds who report drinking in the previous week is 11.3 units.


Health and Social Care Information Centre (2017). Statistics on Alcohol, England, 2016. HSCIC and ONS.

Office for National Statistics (2017). Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2005 to 2016.

Office for National Statistics (2015). Violent crime and sexual offences – alcohol-related violence. ONS.

Office for National Statistics (2017). Alcohol-related deaths in the UK: registered in 2015.

Public Health England (2017). Local Alcohol Profiles for England – Statistical Bulletin, March 2017.

Public Health England (2017). Adult Substance Misuse Statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS): 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017

Public Health England (2016). Adults Substance Misuse Statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System(NDTMS): 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Fuller, E. ed. (2015). Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England in 2014. HSCIC and

Burton, R. et al (2016). The Public Health Burden of Alcohol and the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Alcohol Control Policies: An Evidence Review.

ROSPA (2017). Road safety factsheet: drinking and driving, March

Pryce, R. et al. (2017). Estimates of alcohol dependence in England based on APMS 2014, including estimates of children living in a household with an adult with alcohol dependence: prevalence, trends, and amenability to treatment. University of Sheffield, Kings College London and Public Health

Siegler, V. et al. (2011). Social inequalities in alcohol-related adult mortality by national statistics socio-economic classification, England and Wales, 2001-3.  Health Statistics Quarterly

British Beer and Pub Association (2016). Statistical Handbook, 2016.

Verne, J. (2014). Liver disease: a preventable killer of young adultsPHE Public Health Matters, 29th September 2014.


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