A drunk and disorderly country: a nationwide cross-sectional survey of alcohol use and misuse in Great Britain
- D G Craig1,
- M Dakkak2,
- I T Gilmore3,
- C J Hawkey4,
- J M Rhodes3,
- N Sheron5,
- the British Society of Gastroenterology
- 1Gastroenterology Programme, School of Postgraduate Medicine, Yorkshire and the Humber Postgraduate Deanery, Leeds, UK
- 2Department of Gastroenterology, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Hull, UK
- 3Royal Liverpool Hospital and University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
- 4Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, UK
- 5Clinical Hepatology, Division of Infection, Inflammation and Immunity, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
- Correspondence to Dr Mounes Dakkak, Department of Gastroenterology, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Anlaby Road, Hull HU3 2JZ, UK;
- Received 11 September 2011
- Accepted 20 September 2011
- Published Online First 27 October 2011
Objectives To explore current alcohol drinking patterns, behaviours and attitudes in Great Britain.
Design and setting Independent online cross-sectional survey.
Patients and interventions Survey of 2221 individuals from a representative panel.
Main outcome measures and results Excessive alcohol consumption is a widespread problem across Great Britain. Binge-drinking is common among 18–24 year olds, with 19% reporting drinking 10+ drinks on the same drinking day. ‘Pre-loading’ with alcohol at home before going out was reported by 30% of 18–24-year-old drinkers, of whom 36% get drunk twice or more a month, with 27% having injured themselves while drunk. Among older drinkers, 25% regularly drink to excess, 8% drink seven or more drinks on a typical drinking day and 9% self-reported drink-driving. Male gender was an independent risk factor for heavy (>40 units/week) alcohol abuse (odds ratio 3.05 (95% CI 1.82 to 5.10)). Men (19%) were more likely than women (8%, p<0.001) to report binge-drinking, drink-driving (11% vs 3%, p<0.001), or to have missed work owing to alcohol consumption (12% vs 7%, p<0.001). Young drinkers said they were heavily influenced by overall alcohol price and drink promotions. Increasing average weekly alcohol consumption, age <55 years, male gender, never having been married and being in full-time employment were all independently associated with a history of alcohol-related self-harm. Alcohol abuse was not related to socioeconomic status.
Conclusions Alcohol abuse remains common across all socioeconomic strata and geographical areas of Great Britain. Minimum pricing strategies and interventions that target cheap on-trade alcohol products seem likely to bring major public health benefits.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
This paper is freely available online under the BMJ Journals unlocked scheme, see http://adc.bmj.com/info/unlocked.dtl