Alcohol Consumption Statistics

Between 2018/19, 1.2 million people in England were admitted to hospital for alcohol related consumption, making up a staggering 7.4% of all admissions during that time period. [1]

14 units of alcohol a week is the limit recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. [2]. England has an estimated 586,780 dependent drinkers. [3] A dependent drinker is not necessarily someone who drinks all of the time, but can be someone who relies on alcohol to unwind most days, which is shown to cause long-term health problems. 60% of medical conditions have alcohol as a causal factor, including: Mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure; cirrhosis of the liver and depression. [4] 7.5 thousand people died of alcohol specific causes in the UK in 2018. [5]

40% of adults in England drink over 14 units a week [6], and 22% of 15 year olds reported to be drunk in a week. 71% of school age children who obtained alcohol in the 4 weeks prior to an NHS report, were provided with it from their parents or guardians. [7] Despite those statistics, 20% of people report not drinking at all. [8]

However, only 18% of dependent drinkers are accessing treatment. [9] If only 18% of people with alcohol difficulties are in treatment, then 481k people need further help and support.

10% of people presenting themselves for alcohol treatment had a housing problem. 1 in 5 people in alcohol treatment in 2018/19 in England were parents living with dependent children. [10]

Public Health England (2019). Local Alcohol Profiles for England. Hospital admissions.

UK Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines 2016.


Public Health England (2019). Estimates of alcohol dependent adults in England.

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

Office for National Statistics (2018). Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2018.

NHS Digital (2019). Health Survey for England, 2018. Adults’ health related behaviours report (version 2).

NHS Digital (2019) Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England 2018.

Office for National Statistics (2018). Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2017.

Public Health England (2018). Public Health Dashboard.

Public Health England (2018). Adult substance misuse treatment statistics 2018 to 2019: report.

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