UK consuming less alcohol, but problem drinkers not getting the help they need | UK News

People in the UK are drinking less alcohol, despite an increase in worldwide consumption.

Using World Health Organisation data researchers found UK consumption fell from 12.6 litres of pure alcohol a year per adult in 1990 to 11.4 litres in 2017.

The study, published in the Lancet, predicted the downward trend would continue, falling to 11 litres by 2030.

Meanwhile the survey of drinking patterns in 189 countries between 1990 and 2017 showed that global consumption increased by 70% from 20,999 million litres to 35,676 million litres, with the biggest rises in middle income countries such as China and India.

Jakob Manthey, the study’s author from TU Dresden, Germany, said: “Our study provides a comprehensive overview of the changing landscape in global alcohol exposure.

“Before 1990, most alcohol was consumed in high-income countries, with the highest use levels recorded in Europe.

“However, this pattern has changed substantially, with large reductions across eastern Europe and vast increases in several middle-income countries such as China, India and Vietnam.

“This trend is forecast to continue up to 2030 when Europe is no longer predicted to have the highest level of alcohol use.”

While welcoming the downward trend in the UK, with 15% of adults now abstaining completely, health campaigners have warned that the vast majority of people with a drinking problem are not getting the help they need.

Karen Tyrell, of drug and alcohol charity Addaction, warned: “In the UK, four out of five people with an alcohol problem aren’t getting any sort of treatment. We need to make it a lot easier to get help and support at a much earlier
stage.

“Alcohol is soaked through our culture. The alcohol industry has set the terms of the debate for too long. Flashy marketing disguises an industry that doesn’t do nearly enough to compensate for the harm it causes.

“We know that 4% of drinkers consume one-third of the alcohol sold.

“Helping people make healthier choices is vital but all the evidence shows we need a better policy if we are serious about change.”

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