Facts & Figures

Facts and figures – overview

In the table below are many reports full of facts and figures about alcohol and young people, but we have selected a few scary and encouraging facts about drinking amongst 11 – 15 year olds and young adults as an overview.

Disturbing stats

35% of all Accident & Emergency (A&E) attendance and ambulance costs may be alcohol related in England. 9
407 people died from alcohol poisoning in the UK in 2016. 10
Males accounted for approximately two-thirds of the total number of alcohol-related deaths in 2016 in the UK. There were 7,327 alcohol-specific deaths in the UK (168.2 per 100,000 population) in males and 2,626 (7.5 per 100,000) in females. 1
In 2016, it is estimated that there were 230 fatal drink drive accidents. 2
Being impaired by alcohol is thought to be a contributory factor in 13% of pedestrian road deaths. 11
For 16 – 24-year olds, 21% of deaths in males and 9% of deaths in females have been attributed to alcohol consumption. 8
In the year ending March 2017, 40% of all victims of violence in England and Wales said their attacker was affected by alcohol at the time. It is estimated that there were 464,000 violent alcohol-related incidents in 2016/17. 3
Alcohol misuse is a factor in 30% of suicides each year.
Hospital admissions for young people under 18 in the 3 year period 2014/15-2016/17 were 11,987. 7,062 were for girls. 4
In England, there were 337,113 estimated admissions where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary diagnosis or there was an alcohol-related external cause in 2016/17. 7
2% of 16 – 24 year-old men drink more than 50 units a week and 1% of women aged 16 – 24 drink more than 35 units a week putting themselves at risk of alcohol dependency, mental and behavioural problems and long term health risks such as liver disease. Among adults aged 16 – 74, 5% of men and 3% of women are estimated to be higher risk drinkers in England. 5

Reassuring stats

In England, only 6% of 11 – 15 year-olds drink at least weekly (down from 20% in 2003) – i.e. 94% don’t (<1% of 11 year-olds drink rising to 14% of 15 year-olds). 6
56% of 11 – 15 year-olds have never drunk alcohol (up from 41% in 2000). The proportion of pupils who have had an alcoholic drink increases from 15% of 11 year-olds to 73% of 15 year-olds. 6
The proportion of pupils who think it is ok for someone of their age to drink alcohol has fallen in recent years. In 2016, 25% of pupils thought that it was ok for someone of their age to drink once a week, compared to 46% in 2003. 6
Among 16 – 24 year-olds in 2016, 16% of men and 17% of women said they binge drink. That means an overwhelming majority of young adults (84 % of men and 83% of women) go out to enjoy themselves and socialise, not to get drunk. 12
In 2016, men drank, on average, 16 units of alcohol a week; women drank 9.1 units a week. The government low risk drinking guideline is a maximum of 14 units for both women and for men. 5

Statistics are drawn from:

1. Alcohol-specific deaths in the United Kingdom, published November 2017 (Office of National Statistics)
2. Estimates for reported road traffic accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2016 (Department for Transport)
3. The nature of violent crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2017 (ONS) published 2018.
4. Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE)
5. HSCIC Health Survey for England, 2016, published 2017
6. HSCIC Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England 2016 report, published 2017.
7. Statistics on Alcohol, England, 2017
8. John Moores University. Updating England-Specific Alcohol-Attributable Fractions report, 2013.
9. Nuffield Trust: Alcohol-specific activity in hospitals in England, 2015.
10. Alcohol-specific deaths by sex, age group and individual cause of death
11. Facts on Pedestrian Casualties June 2015 Department of Transport
12. Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2005 to 2016.