Drinkers in the UK get drunk more often than anywhere else in the world, findings from a global drug survey suggest. Britons reported getting drunk an average of 51.1 times in a 12-month period – almost once a week, the 2019 report featuring 36 countries found. Researchers believe it may be time to introduce guidelines on how to get drunk safely, which would reach binge drinkers who may currently see upper limits as ‘irrelevant’. The study comes amid an overall downward trend of drinking levels in the UK, with abstention on the rise, particularly amongst young adults. Professor Adam Winstock, founder of the survey, said while fewer people were drinking, many who were are doing so in a potentially harmful way.
Researchers based in London surveyed 5,400 people from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and more than 120,000 globally between October 29 and December 30 last year. It is the eighth annual report and claims to be the largest drug survey in the world.
English speaking countries led the way for how often their citizens get drunk, with the USA, Canada and Australia closely following the UK at the top of the global rankings. Prof Winstock said: ‘We get told too much is bad, and it is, but current guidelines fail to accept the pleasure of intoxication and give little guide on difference between being a little drunk and a lot drunk, and doing it 3-4 times a year versus weekly. We need to have that conversation. ‘In the UK we don’t tend to do moderation, we end up getting drunk as the point of the evening. ‘Until culture changes and we become more European and moderate in our drinking, we might have to bite the bullet and think about how to advise people to get drunk drinking less.
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