Well, what a surprise. Wonder what the figures for Ireland would be? This was published by BMA Scotland on 1st June (http://www.bma.org.uk/pressrel.nsf/wlu/GGRT-6QBBYE?OpenDocument&vw=wfmms) :
One in five Scots admit they drink to 'get drunk' (issued by BMA Scotland Thursday 01 Jun 2006)
New research released today [Thursday 1 June 2006] by health charity DPP: Developing Patient Partnerships provides a stark insight into the nation’s drinking habits. And with football fever ready to strike when the World Cup begins next week, the picture could become even more blurry. Around one in five Scots (18%) say that sometimes they drink with the sole intention to ‘get drunk’, a figure which rises alarmingly to 59% of 18 – 24 year olds and 43% of 25-34 year olds [UK figures].
Nearly a third (30%) of those who took part in the survey admit to generally drinking too much (38% for men and 23% for women) which has important implications for people physically and socially, with 29% of 18 – 24 year olds across the UK admitting that they forget what they’ve done and over a third (39%) feeling embarrassed about their behaviour.
The hidden costs for businesses are also considerable. 19% of Scots say that they have had times when they struggle to do their jobs because they are hungover, rising to a staggering 80% of 18-24 year olds. As the World Cup nears employers can get set to see their workers struggle even more as nearly half (44%) of Brits in this age group anticipate that they are likely to drink more than usual during this period.
DPP is today launching its Alcohol and You campaign to offer people practical advice on enjoying alcohol without overdoing it, to improve their quality of life and avoid the many serious risks associated with drinking too much.
Dr Mary Church, joint chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said:
“Alcohol has always played part in Scottish social life and although most people drink sensibly, binge drinking and drinking just to get drunk is becoming a real health hazard for some Scots. Alcohol accounts for one in 30 of all deaths in Scotland and the cost to the NHS is estimated to be as much as £1.13 billion each year1.
“People who develop unhealthy patterns of drinking in their younger years are at greater risk of developing dependence on alcohol in adulthood. Peer pressure and easy availability of alcohol has an impact on how much young people drink.
“Drinking too much on a regular basis carries a health risk. For example, it will increase the risk of liver damage and raised blood pressure. The BMA therefore welcomes education programmes and initiatives such as the DPP’s Alcohol and You campaign.
“The results of this survey are worrying as the numbers are probably a lot higher if you take into account people who are unaware that they are drinking too much. If people are equipped with the knowledge of what dangerous drinking levels are, coupled with really practical advice about how to cut down and stay in control of their drinking, then it will go a long way to ensure that people enjoy a drink without overdoing it.”
Dr David Wrigley, DPP chairman, said:
“Sometimes people may not even be aware that they are drinking too much. The first step in reducing your risks from too much alcohol is to keep track of how much you are drinking. Cutting down doesn’t have to be particularly onerous as there are simple but effective steps you can take to reduce your alcohol intake. The World Cup, for instance, is likely to mean people are socialising more so it will be especially important to keep a handle on how much you drink.”
Note to editors
1. Scottish Executive Health Department. Health in Scotland 2004, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, 2005
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 28th April – 1st May 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at: www.icmresearch.co.uk.
DPP: Developing Patient Partnerships (formerly Doctor Patient Partnership) is a health education charity working with primary care organisations and the public.
Regional statistics (where available)
Almost a quarter (24%) of Brits say sometimes they drink with the sole intention to ‘get drunk’.
North England 28%
South East 24%
Wales & South West 33%
Thirty per cent of us admit to generally drinking too much
North England 30%
South East 31%
Wales & South West 40%
38% of men admit to generally drinking too much
North England 37%
South East 38%
Wales & South West 47%
23% of women admit to generally drinking too much
North England 21%*
South East 24%
Wales and South West 34%*
Over a quarter (27%) of Brits have had times when they struggle to do their jobs because they are hungover
North England 32%
South East 29%
Wales & South West 25%
*Please note small sample size.