Raising concerns about alcohol use

The College shaped the national debate in the media last week through a story on the rise of problem drinking during the pandemic, which reached over 20 million people.

The latest data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities showed that 18% of adults in England – 8 million people - were consuming alcohol at increasing or higher risk in the three months to the end of October 2021.

A quarter of adult men and a tenth of women surveyed were said to be drinking at these levels.

In an interview with the Press Association Professor Julia Sinclair, Chair of the Addictions Faculty, suggested that the latest data showed that people were still coping with uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic, while some had formed habits involving alcohol.

Many people have not yet reached the stage where they realise that they have a problem and are causing themselves “silent harm”, she added. Drinking at home “can go on for hours” and people are not keeping track of their measures – “the drinks are not coming in units”, she said.

Assessing if this is the new normal, Professor Sinclair said there would likely be a slow rollback of these habits, but “people won’t just suddenly flip back to where they were – none of us suddenly flips back.”

The story was picked up by all leading national media including The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail and Evening Standard and BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live.

Amplified by wider coverage across online local and regional outlets, our story achieved a total of 376 media hits and reached 23.7 million people.

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