Comment on new data from HSCIC on alcohol consumption

14.12.16

Commenting on todays from HSCIC Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

The data shows that most people in the UK continue to enjoy a drink in a convivial and moderate manner.                                   

The continued trend in reduced underage drinking to the lowest levels ever recorded is an example of the effective work being done by local partnerships across the country.  Working together at a local level is producing welcome results as we see fewer children drinking and younger adults adopting more moderate drinking patterns.

There are still some areas of England and particular groups in society where more work needs to be done to reduce alcohol misuse. Partnerships between industry, licensees, the public services and retailers are the best way to achieve the desired reduction in alcohol misuse.

It is clear that the local partnership approach taken at the moment is working. In many towns and cities the public services, industry, licensees and retailers are working together to produce significant changes.

Todays figures reflect the controversial changes made by the Chief Medical officer to the drinking guidelines in January 2016. By reducing the male guideline from 21 to 14 units per week, 2.5 million men who were drinking at sensible levels were reclassified overnight as riskier drinkers.  This change from the CMO has given a statistical increase in risky drinking of 12%.  The new data shows that the average male consumption is 14.9 units per week, less than it was 5 years ago.  Under the old established guidance this average would have been classified as well inside the lowest risk category. 

During the festive season those that choose to drink alcohol should remember to drink in moderation and never drink and drive.

 ENDS

 

For further information please contact Dave Roberts on 07733323350

 

comment on All Party Parliamentary Group report on alcohol and emergency services

6.12.16

Commenting on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm report released today Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

“All anti-social behavior, violence or abuse is totally unacceptable and the perpetrators should be punished.

Having had a drink is no excuse for abusive or violent behavior, when out for the night or at home.

When out for a fun night with friends the vast majority of people enjoy having a drink in a convivial manner without causing any trouble at all.

It is only a disruptive minority that damage our night time economy and spoil the fun for sensible and responsible drinkers having a good time in pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. Any response to the problems should acknowledge the current decline in consumption and build on the good partnership work being done already to reduce harm.

Any response should avoid punishing the vast majority because of the behavior of a minority. For example according to the Office of National Statistics harmful drinking has fallen by 22% since 2005 and the number of violent incidents committed by offenders perceived to be under the influence of alcohol has fallen by 40% since 2007.”

ENDS

Comment on “The public health burden of alcohol: evidence review”

2/12/16

Commenting on today’s comprehensive alcohol report from Public Health England Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

Today’s report from PHE is comprehensive in nature and is a contribution to understanding the role of alcohol in society and the options for reducing harm caused by misuse.

PHE are claiming that we are now drinking ‘twice  as much’ as we did 40 years ago. In fact in the UK we drink almost exactly the same amount today as we did in 1976 (HMRC) and less than we did 10 years ago. (www.portmangroup.org.uk/research/trends-in-alcohol )

It appears that PHE are contradicting the government’s own figures.

The report fails to acknowledge the positive trends in the UK (see details below)

In the UK alcohol consumption is falling, alcohol specific hospital admissions among the under 18s and under 40s are reducing and harmful drinking is in decline.  The work being done by all involved has clearly been working.

Minimum Unit Pricing is an untested policy built on modelling and forecasting, the evidence behind its claims is poor and controversial.

MUP has the potential to penalise moderate and responsible drinkers and increase the cost of enjoying a convivial drink without tackling serious misuse.

Any harm caused by alcohol is always serious.  However the vast majority of people who choose to drink do so in moderation and in a convivial manner

The data indicates that to reduce the risk of harm people should eat well, exercise, not smoke and if they choose to drink alcohol they should do so in moderation and within guidelines.

 

ENDS

 

For further information please call Dave on 07733323350

 

Key positive trends in alcohol:

 Alcohol Consumption:

In the last decade alcohol consumption has fallen by 18%.  (HMRC, BBPA)

Today, the UK drinks less alcohol than 16 other European countries: Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland , Poland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Croatia, Finland, Latvia, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Lithuania (World Health Organisation)

Drinking patterns:

On average, 76% of adults (84% of women and 68% of men) do not exceed low risk guidelines – 14 units per week (HSCIC)

Harmful drinking (more than 9 units for women or 12 units for men in a single occasion) has fallen by 22% since 2005 (ONS)

Overall, binge drinking (more than 6 units for women or 8 units for men in a single occasion) has fallen by 14% since 2005. Binge drinking among the 16-24 and 25-44 age groups has fallen 33% and 20% respectively. (ONS)

Overall, the proportion of adults drinking in the last week has declined by 9% since 2005. (ONS)

The proportion of adults who drank on five or more days in the last week has declined by 33% since 2005. (ONS)

Underage Drinking:

The proportion of children (11-15 years old) who have had an alcoholic drink has declined 38% since 2004 (HSCIC)

In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to try alcohol has fallen by 28%  (HSCIC)

In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to get drunk has fallen by 42% (HSCIC)

Alcohol-related crime:

The number of violent incidents committed by offenders perceived to be under the influence of alcohol has fallen by 40% since 2007. (ONS)

The proportion of people witnessing alcohol-related anti-social behaviour has fallen 18% since 2011/12 (since data collection began) (ONS)

The proportion of people who found alcohol-related anti-social behaviour to be a ‘very’ or ‘fairly big’ problem in their area has fallen by 25% since 2005/6. (ONS)

Drink Driving:

The total number of drink driving casualties (slight, serious and killed) has fallen by 52% since 2004. (DfT)

The number of drink-driving deaths has fallen by 85% since 1979 (DfT)

The total number of drink driving accidents (slight, serious and killed) has fallen by 50% since 2004. (DfT)

 

Comment on Cancer Research UK report on alcohol and cancer

18.11.16

Commenting on the recent report from Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Sheffield University on the link between alcohol consumption and cancer, specifically oesophageal cancer, Dave Roberts, Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership, said

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 the UK overall age-standardized death rate attributed to alcohol use has fallen by 7.5% since 2005.*

The CRUK report concludes that oesophageal cancer will see the largest increase by 2035.

According to CRUK oesophageal cancer accounts for 2% of all new cancers in the UK and that a person’s risk depends on many factors including age, genetics and exposure to life style risks.  Information from CRUK states that 66% of cases are linked to smoking.

This report appears to be somewhat at odds with CRUKs website that states deaths from oesophageal cancer have fallen by 8% over the last decade and are set to fall by a further 16% by 2035 and that for the past 10 years overall rates have remained stable with a 5% decrease in women.

Alcohol consumption in the UK has fallen over the past decade with a 32% fall in harmful drinking among young people and a 61% fall in the number drinking alcohol in the past 5 days.

An increased risk of cancer is always serious.  However, the data suggests that to reduce the risk of cancer adults should avoid smoking, eat well, exercise and if they choose to drink alcohol they should do so in moderation and within government guidelines.

* GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. (2015). Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet, Volume 388 (10053): p1447-1850.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31679-8/fulltext

http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/

 

Comment on reports regarding an association between alcohol and an increased risk of prostate cancer

Comment on reports regarding an association between alcohol and an increased risk of prostate cancer

15/11/2016

Referring to the recent publication by Canadian Professor Tim Stockwell about alcohol consumption and an increased risks of prostate cancer Alcohol Information Partnership Director General Dave Roberts said

“The study by Professor Stockwell and colleagues is a contribution to understanding risks associated with alcohol consumption. However, the weight of opinion remains that the evidence of an association between moderate alcohol consumption and an increased risk of prostate cancer is mixed and inconclusive. The International Agency for Research on Cancer state that most studies have found no association (IARC 2012).

In the UK those working in prostate cancer awareness such as Dr Frame from Prostate Cancer UK continue to advise men in the absence of conclusive evidence on prostate cancer “… to maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure they drink in moderation”.”

Keeping the risks of alcohol misuse in context

Letter to Northern Echo and Northumberland Gazette

I commend efforts to inform the people of the North East about the risks connected with the misuse of alcohol.  However, when doing so it is important to keep the risk in context. For light and moderate male and female drinkers the evidence points to a lifetime risk to overall health that is equivalent to many everyday activities such as driving a car, and considerably less than many other pursuits.  The vast majority of people in the North East already enjoy drinking in moderation and in a convivial and responsible manner.  According to the Office of National Statistics only 57% of people in the region drank in the last week and 20% of the regions adults are teetotal.

Headlines don’t reflect actual UK consumption patterns

Commenting on today’s headlines about a report in the BMJ claiming “women are now drinking as much as men” Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said

The headlines about the BMJ report need to be set in the context of drinking patterns in the UK.

Alcohol consumption in the UK is falling, since a peak in 2004 the HMRC reports a fall of 18%. Recent data shows that the proportion of women drinking regularly has fallen by 34% which is slightly faster than men, with younger women aged16-24 reporting the most significant fall of 69%.

While more needs to be done to tackle excessive alcohol consumption and to support those with harmful drinking habits, it must be remembered that the vast majority of men and women in the UK drink in moderation and that consumption levels are falling.

Underage drinking in Croydon is well below the national average

Letter to Croydon Advertiser

Dear Editor

I write with reference to your recent article about the price of alcohol and underage drinking.

It is important that when we discuss alcohol and its use by young adults and underage drinkers that we take into consideration the official Government data and acknowledge that young people today have an improving relationship with alcohol.

In Croydon figures from Public Health England show that the majority of 15 year olds have never had an alcoholic drink, that the number of 15 year olds that have been drunk in a four week period is 8.2% – well below the national average – and the number of under 18s admitted to hospital for alcohol-specific conditions is down by 10% on the previous year. Cleary the work of the partnerships involved should be congratulated.

Nationally Government figures show that underage drinking has fallen by nearly 40% over the past ten years.  In addition official data shows that young people’s attitude to underage drinking has hardened with those thinking it is acceptable to drink falling by 28%.

The data tells a story that demonstrates that many young people in Croydon and across the country have heeded the sensible drinking message and that underage drinking is on the decline.

There is more work to be done to reduce harmful drinking habits.  However it is important that when discussing how this can best be achieved we consult the evidence and remember that the majority of indicators consistently demonstrate that the majority of people drink sensibly and that this is improving year on year.

Yours

Dave Roberts

Director General

Alcohol Information Partnership

Stop demonising young people

Letter to Yorkshire Evening Post

I write regarding the recent article by Andrew Vine (11th October).  The article makes many statements about youth drinking that are not supported by official Government data.

At a national level Government figures (HSCIC) find that the vast majority of 16-24 year olds do not exceed the Governments guidelines – 83% of women and 76% of men.  In addition, data from the Office of National Statistics show that binge drinking is on the decline within this age group – for women the decline is 34% since 2005 and for men it is 32%.

In Leeds the data shows that underage drinking in the city has fallen and the number of under 18s admitted to hospital for alcohol specific conditions has fallen by 63% over the past 6 years and for under 40s it is down 29% over the same period.

The article also claims that the UK could learn from the French.  It is hard to compare the UK with European neighbours as the UK failed to submit any figures to the recent ESPAD study.  However understanding the official French Government data could lead to a very different conclusion as the number of young French adults aged between 18 and 25 who report having been repeatably drunk has nearly doubled since 2005.

There is more to be done to reduce harmful drinking and to encourage some young people to reframe from excessive use.  However the demonisation of young people and the ignoring of the data and the many positive changes in young people’s relationship with alcohol does nothing to help the debate about how as a society we reduce avoidable harm.

Yours

Dave Roberts

Director General

Government figures demonstrate a change in attitude to underage drinking

Commenting on today’s report in The Times about underage drinking Dave Roberts Director General of the Alcohol Information Partnership said.

“Today’s article acknowledges the fall in underage drinking in the UK but fails to recognise the extent to which the attitudes of children and young adults have changed in recent years. Government figures show that underage drinking has fallen by nearly 40% over the past ten years. In addition official data shows that young people’s attitude to underage drinking has hardened with those thinking it is acceptable to drink falling by 28%. According to NHS data in 2014 only 38 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds had tried alcohol at least once, the lowest proportion since the survey began.

Under 18 alcohol specific admissions to hospital have also fallen by 46% since 2008 including in areas that in the past have been disproportionately affected by alcohol related harm such as the North West (down 54%) and the North East (down 46%).

The Horizon Scanning Report by the Cabinet Office state that “… over the last decade there is evidence to suggest that a slow and steady decline in risky behaviour and negative outcomes, such as drinking, drug use, smoking, youth crime, suicide and teenage pregnancy amongst children and young people.”

The partnership work between public authorities, the industry, retailers and licensees should be commended for these positive changes in attitudes and corresponding reduction in harm. We need to understand what has worked and do more of it.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Alcohol Information Partnership is comprised of eight alcoholic beverage producers:

Diageo Great Britain

Pernod Ricard UK

Campari

Bacardi

Brown-Forman

Remy-Cointreau

Moet Hennessy

Beam Suntory

Media enquiries

For further information, please contact: Dave Roberts on 07733323350 or dave@alcoholinfopartnership.co.uk

Twitter @DGalcoinfo

The Alcohol Information Partnership is registered at Companies House. Company number: 10314408
Dave Roberts

Director General

Alcohol Information Partnership

07733323350

 

Notes to Editors

The Alcohol Information Partnership is comprised of eight alcoholic beverage producers:

Diageo Great Britain
Pernod Ricard UK
Campari
Bacardi
Brown-Forman
Remy-Cointreau
Moet Hennessy
Beam Suntory

Brief biography for Dave Roberts
Chief Executive of the National Clinical Homecare Association
Strategic communications adviser to Wiltshire Public Health and NHS Wiltshire
Adviser to Family and Childcare Trust
Lead strategist for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – leading the campaign to introduce the HPV vaccine to prevent causes of cervical cancer
Head of Communications Wiltshire Health Authority

Media enquiries
For further information, please contact: Dave Roberts on 07733323350 or dave@alcoholinfopartnership.co.uk
Twitter @DGalcoinfo

The Alcohol Information Partnership is registered at Companies House. Company number: 10314408

 

 

 

  1. Overall, binge drinking has fallen by 19% since 2005. There have been significant declines in binge drinking for the 16-24 and 25-44 age groups, down 33% and 20% respectively. (ONS) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/drugusealcoholandsmoking/bulletins/opinionsandlifestylesurveyadultdrinkinghabitsingreatbritain/2014
  2. In the last decade, the proportion of children (11-15) who have had an alcoholic drink has declined by 38%. (HSCIC) http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879
    In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to try alcohol has fallen by 28% (HSCIC) http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879
    In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to get drunk has reduced from 46% to 24% (HSCIC) http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17879
    Under 18 alcohol-specific hospital admissions have fallen by 46% since 2008, and by 8% in the last year alone (2012/13 – 2014/15). (PHE) http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data
    In every region of England underage hospital admissions due to alcohol are falling, including in those areas that in the past have been disproportionately affected by alcohol-related harms, such as the North West (down 54%) and North East (down 46%). (PHE) http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data
  3. In 2014, there were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths registered in the UK. Alcohol-related deaths have fallen since a peak in 2008. The majority of deaths (65%) were among males. Alcohol-related deaths for both males and females are more prevalent in the North of the country. (ONS) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/bulletins/alcoholrelateddeathsintheunitedkingdom/registeredin2014 Alcohol-related hospital admissions for those aged under 40 have declined over the past six years(PHE) http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles/data

Contact

Dave Roberts

07733 323350

dave@alcoholinfopartnership.co.uk