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Key Facts:

  • In the UK per capita (15yrs +) consumption of alcohol (recorded and unrecorded) has decreased slightly from an average of 13.2 litres of pure alcohol in 2003-2005, and 11.6 litres in 2008-2010. 
  • UK alcohol consumption remains higher than in Europe as a whole, average of 10.9 litres of pure alcohol in 2008-2010.
  • In the UK in 2010 men (15yrs +) consumed more alcohol per captia than women, 18.9 litres of pure alcohol, compared to 8.5 litres for women. 
  • The harmful use of alcohol is a component cause of more than 200 disease and injury conditions in individuals, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers and injuries.
  • In the UK in 2012 the proportion of deaths (15yrs +) caused by liver cirrhosis thought to be linked to alcohol was 72.1% for men, and 68.2% for women.
  • The Government’s 2012 alcohol strategy estimated the total annual cost of alcohol harm to society as £21 billion.
  • Prescriptions dispensed to treat alcohol dependency in England have increased by almost 75% in nine years.

Information on groups and activities in Bath and North East Somerset open to adults who are socially isolated, affected by mental health issues, substance misuse or homelessness can be found in the Hope Guide

What does the data say?

Consumption 1

Worldwide consumption in 2010 was equal to 6.2 litres of pure alcohol consumed per person aged 15 years or older, which translates into 13.5 grams of pure alcohol per day.

A quarter of this consumption (24.8%) was unrecorded, i.e., homemade alcohol, illegally produced or sold outside normal government controls. Of total recorded alcohol consumed worldwide, 50.1% was consumed in the form of spirits.

In the UK per capita (15yrs +) consumption of alcohol (recorded and unrecorded) has decreased slightly from an average of 13.2 litres of pure alcohol in 2003-2005, and 11.6 litres in 2008-2010.  Though alcohol consumption remains higher than in Europe as a whole, average of 10.9 litres of pure alcohol in 2008-2010.

In 2010 the main types of recorded alcoholic drinks consumed in the UK were as follows:

  • 37% beer
  • 34% wine
  • 22% spirts
  • 7% other

In the UK, between 1961 and 2010, beer consumption (15+) has declined, whereas the consumption of wine and spirts have increased.

Figure 1: Recorded pure alcohol per capita (15yrs +) consumption in the UK – 1961-2010 2

In the UK in 2010 men (15yrs +) consumed more alcohol per captia than women, 18.9 litres of pure alcohol, compared to 8.5 litres for women.  

Worldwide 61.7% of the population aged 15 years or older (15yrs +) had not drunk alcohol in the past 12 months.

Worldwide about 16.0% of drinkers aged 15 years or older engage in heavy episodic drinking. This is however much higher in the UK, when in 2010, about 33.4% of drinkers (15+) had engaged in heavy episodic drinking, 40.8% of male drinkers and 25.8% of female drinkers.

In general, the greater the economic wealth of a country, the more alcohol is consumed and the smaller the number of abstainers. As a rule, high-income countries have the highest alcohol per capita consumption (APC) and the highest prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among drinkers.

In all World Health Organisation regions, females are more often lifetime abstainers than males. In the UK in 2010, about 12% of men (15yrs +) and 18% of women (15yrs +) were lifetime abstainers.

Public drinking has historically been the focus of concern in relation to alcohol related harm, however supermarket sales and home drinking contribute significantly to both health problems and antisocial behaviour. 3

Health and wellbeing 4

The harmful use of alcohol is a component cause of more than 200 disease and injury conditions in individuals, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers and injuries.

The latest causal relationships suggested by research are those between harmful use of alcohol and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

In 2012, about 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption.

There are significant sex differences in the proportion of global deaths attributable to alcohol, for example, in 2012 7.6% of deaths among males and 4.0% of deaths among females were attributable to alcohol. There is also wide geographical variation in the proportion of alcohol-attributable deaths, with the highest alcohol-attributable fractions reported in Europe (WHO European Region).

In the UK in 2012 the proportion of deaths (15yrs +) caused by liver cirrhosis thought to be linked to alcohol was 72.1% for men, and 68.2% for women. In the same year in the UK the proportion of deaths (15yrs +) caused by road traffic accidents thought to be linked to alcohol was 16.6% for men and 6.7% for women.

In the UK in 2010 it is thought that 11.1% of the (15yrs +) population (6.0% of women, 16.3% of men) were alcohol dependent or harmful drinkers, compared to 7.5% in Europe as a whole (WHO European Region).

Mortality and Months of life lost - Bath and North East Somerset 5

 

The data reflects the level of chronic heavy drinking in the population and is most likely to be found in higher-risk drinkers and dependent drinkers. High rates of alcohol specific mortality and mortality from chronic liver disease are likely to indicate a significant population who have been drinking heavily and persistently over the past 10 – 30 years (obesity is also a key factor for liver disease).

Months of life lost for males in B&NES (2010-2012) was slightly higher than the national level at 11.65 compared to 11.49 nationally. B&NES is significantly lower for months of life lost for females due to alcohol (and alcohol related conditions) at 4.26 compared to 5.38 nationally.

 

Alcohol specific mortality in B&NES is identical to national levels at a rate of 0.10 (all genders, crude rate per 1000 - 2010 to 2012). B&NES rates are not significantly different to national levels for mortality from chronic liver disease and alcohol-related mortality.

 

Financial cost of alcohol to society

The Government’s 2012 alcohol strategy estimated the total annual cost of alcohol harm to society as £21 billion. 6

Estimated annual financial costs of alcohol to society in Bath and North East Somerset: 7

  • £3.2 million in drug & alcohol treatment services
  • up to £5. million on health care for alcohol-use disorders
  • up to £18.7 million is lost yearly due to the economic output reduction caused by alcohol-use disorders
  • £21 million in tackling alcohol related crime.
  • total cost of the harm arising from alcohol-use disorders is £45.0 million a year.

Financial cost of alcohol to the NHS 8

The Department of Health estimated that in 2006/07 the cost of alcohol to the NHS was £2.7 billion.

Of the annual estimated costs of alcohol harm to the NHS, 2006-07 56% was spent on frontline inpatient and outpatient hospital treatment.

Alcohol-cost to the nhs in england-bar graph 

Figure 2: Annual estimated costs of alcohol harm to the NHS, 2006-07 9

Prescriptions dispensed to treat alcohol dependency in England have increased by almost 75% in nine years. It now costs nearly £3 million annually compared to  £1.7 mill in 2003. 10

Estimated annual financial costs of alcohol to the NHS in Bath and North East Somerset: 11

  • £3.2 million in drug & alcohol treatment services
  • up to £5 million on health care for alcohol-use disorders