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.
N.B. These are provided for teacher information. Not all statistics are suitable to be shared with young people.
England and Wales:
- 35% of all Accident & Emergency (A&E) attendance and ambulance costs may be alcohol related in England. 9
- 530 people died from alcohol poisoning in the UK in 2018. 1
- Males accounted for approximately two-thirds of the total number of alcohol-related deaths in 2018 in the UK. There were 7,551 alcohol-specific deaths in the UK 5,077 (16.4 per 100,000 population) in males and 2,474 (7.6 per 100,000) in females. 1
- In 2018, it is estimated that there were 240 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 2018, 39% 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 561,000 violent alcohol-related incidents in 2017/18. 3
- Alcohol misuse is a factor in 30% of suicides each year.
- Hospital admissions for young people under 18 in the 3 year period 2016/17-2018/19 were 11,233. The admission rate for girls was 37.5 (per 100,000) compared to 25.9 (per 100,000) for boys. 4
- In England, there were 357,659 estimated admissions where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary diagnosis or there was an alcohol-related external cause in 2017/18. 4
- 4% of 16 – 24 year-old men drink more than 50 units a week and 3% 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
- There were 12,180 exclusions for drug and alcohol offences in English schools last year – 17% up on the year before and the highest since records began in 2006-07. 13
- 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 14% of 11 year-olds to 70% 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 2018, 27% 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 2018, 22% of men and 15% of women said they binge drink. That means an overwhelming majority of young adults (78 % of men and 85% of women) go out to enjoy themselves and socialise, not to get drunk. 5
- In 2018, 69% of men drank and 85% of women drank within the government low risk drinking guideline (a maximum of 14 units for both women and for men). 5
Statistics are drawn from:
1. Alcohol-specific deaths in the United Kingdom: registered in 2018, published December 2019 (Office of National Statistics)
2. Estimates for reported road traffic accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2018 (Department for Transport)
3. The nature of violent crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 (ONS) published 2019.
4. Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE)
5. HSCIC Health Survey for England, 2018, published 2019
6. HSCIC Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England 2018 report, published 2019.
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.
13. Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England
- In Scotland in 2015, a total of 41,161 adults aged 16 years and over were admitted to hospital at least once with a wholly or partially attributable condition (6.4% of all admissions). Men were twice as likely to be hospitalised with an alcohol-attributable condition compared with women (8.8% and 4.3% respectively). 27% of alcohol related admissions were for an unintentional injury. 5
- Alcohol was a factor in more than 3,705 deaths in 2015 among adults aged 16 years and over in Scotland, 6.5% of the total number of deaths. Men were almost twice as likely to die from an alcohol-attributable condition in 2015 compared with women (8.4% and 4.7% respectively). 28% of these alcohol-attributable deaths were due to cancer. 5
- For 16 – 24-year olds in Scotland, 21% of deaths in males and 11% of deaths in females have been attributed to alcohol consumption. 4
- In 2016, it is estimated that there were 240 people killed in drink drive accidents in the UK. 1
- 415 people died from alcohol poisoning in the UK in 2016. 10
- Being impaired by alcohol is thought to be a contributory factor in 13% of pedestrian road deaths. 6
- In 2019/20 for violent crime in Scotland, 44% of victims said the offender was under the influence of alcohol. 3
- Alcohol misuse is a factor in 30% of suicides each year.
- 24% of all adults in Scotland drink at hazardous or harmful levels (defined as drinking more than 14 units per week). In 2019, among those aged 16-24 prevalence was 28% for men and 13% for women. 2
- Male drinkers in Scotland consume significantly more alcohol on their heaviest drinking day than female drinkers. The mean number of units consumed on the heaviest drinking day was 10.1 for male drinkers aged 16-24 compared 6.6 units for female drinkers. 2
- In 2016/17, alcohol-related hospital admissions for children aged under 15 years-old increased after a sustained period of decrease. Rates of alcohol-related hospitalisations for children aged under 15 years-old in Scotland have fallen from a peak of 59.7 per 100,000 population in 1997/98 to a low of 14.8 per 100,000 in 2014/15; by 2019/20 this had risen to 21.2 per 100,000 population 5.
- In Scotland, the proportion of adults drinking above three units (women) and four units (men on their heaviest drinking day in the past week declined from 41% in 2003 to 33% in 2019. 5
- Among 16 – 24 year-olds in 2018 in Great Britain, 20% of men and women report binge drinking in the past week. That means an overwhelming majority of young adults (80% of men and of women) go out to enjoy themselves and socialise, not to get drunk. 7
In 2018 the proportion of 15 year-olds in Scotland drinking weekly was 16% for both boys and girls (down from 45% and 44% in 1998). 8
- In 2018, 31% of 15–year olds reported having been drunk at least twice in their life which is the lowest level since 1990. 8
In Scotland in 2018, 51% of 13 year-olds thought that it was ‘ok’ for someone their age to try drinking alcohol, while 78% of 15 year-olds thought it was ‘ok’. 9
- Only 16% of 13 year-olds thought that it was ‘ok’ for someone their age to try getting drunk, but this increased to 49% of 15 year-olds. 9
- In Scotland, the proportion of 13 year- olds reporting ever having a drink has fallen from 49% in 1990 to 36% in 2018, and for 15 year-olds from 84% in 1990 to 71% in 2018. 9
- The proportion of children reporting drinking in the last week has also reduced over time. For 13 year-olds this has fallen from 23% in 2002 to 6% in 2018. For 15 year-olds rates have declined from 46% in 2002 to 20% in 2018. 9
Statistics are drawn from:
1. Estimates for reported road traffic accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2020 (Department for Transport)
2. Scottish Health Survey 2019
3. Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2019/20
4. Hospital admissions, deaths and overall burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption in Scotland
5. Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy: Monitoring Report 2021.
6. Facts on Pedestrian Casualties, June 2015, Department of Transport
7. Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2017.
8. Findings from the HBSC 2018 survey in Scotland
9. Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): Alcohol Report 2018.
10. Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2019.