Either on its own or in conjunction with other factors, alcohol is estimated to be responsible for at least 33,000 deaths in the UK each year.
In Great Britain, just under a third of men (31%) and one in five women (20%) drink more than the advised weekly limits of 21 and 14 units a week respectively. Some 8% of men and 2% of women drink more than the levels regarded as harmful, namely 50 and 35 units a week respectively.
More than one in 25 adults are dependent on alcohol, and the UK has one of the highest rates of binge drinking in Europe
An estimated 17 million working days are lost each year due to people missing work due to the effects of alcohol.
Around 6% of road casualties and 17% of all deaths on the road occur when someone has been drinking over the legal limit.
In young adults, binge drinking is also associated with a range of risky behaviours, including a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted illness.
The harmful effects of drinking are almost entirely related to the alcohol content of what you drink, not the type of drink. In other words, beers are no safer than spirits. What matters is how much you drink.The alcohol content of drinks is measured in ‘units’. Each unit is equivalent to around 10mls or 8g of pure alcohol (ethanol). The number of units in any drink is related to the strength of the alcohol content (the concentration) and to the volume of the drink.
For example, a single (35ml) shot of spirits contains roughly the same amount of alcohol as a small (125ml) glass of wine. This is about the same amount of alcohol (1.4 units) as is contained in a half pint of normal strength beer.