Study reveals extent of binge-drink culture
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
One in ten people on a night out plan to drink at least 40 units of alcohol before they return home, according to a new study of Britain’s binge-drinking culture.
This would mean that men would be consuming twice their weekly recommended alcohol intake in one sitting – the equivalent of 20 pints of lager - while women would exceed their recommended weekly intake by almost three times.
Researchers analysed the habits of 214 drinkers in Liverpool, Manchester and Chester through a series of interviews, breath tests and assessments of their levels of drunkenness, such as slurred speech and ability to walk.
When interviewed, half of participants said they were drunk and over half of those said they planned to carry on drinking.
One in 10 people, 15 per cent of men and 4 per cent of women, said their total alcohol intake would be more than 40 units before they stopped drinking.
At the time of the interview, one in five men and women had already drunk more than their weekly recommended alcohol intake (21 units for men and 14 for women).
And by the time they got home, the researchers estimated that 61 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women would have exceeded their recommended weekly allowance in the single sitting.
Furthermore, the study revealed that 21 per cent of men will have been drinking for more than 12 hours by the time they returned home.
Mark Bellis, from Liverpool John Moores University, led the research, published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy.
He said: “The UK has a well established culture of heavy drinking in nightlife settings.
“Cities in the UK have adopted costly nightlife policing strategies aimed at protecting patrons from immediate alcohol-related harms by controlling violence and other anti-social behaviour.
“Implementing safety measures in nightlife environments is crucial to protecting public health, yet without reasonable efforts to reduce nightlife alcohol consumption, such measures may simply result in safer environments for drunks.”
The study took place over Friday and Saturday nights in March and April last year, between 8pm and 2am.