Further data has been released for the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE), providing geographical data on off-sales, licensed premises and adult drinking. Public Health England recently released LAPE data on hospital admissions and mortality to support local level activity.
Key findings include:
- 25.7% of adults in England regularly drank over 14 units per week in 2011-2014.
- 15.5% of adults in England abstained from drinking alcohol in 2011-2014.
- 16.5% of adults in England were binge drinking on their heaviest day from 2011-2014.
- 10.6 units of alcohol per adult per week were sold through the off-trade in England in 2014.
Significant regional variation exists across the measures, with the North East highest for many of the indicators where 30.3% of adults regularly drink above the weekly guideline of 14 units. In contrast, London ranks lowest for many of the indicators, largely driven by 24.3% of adults abstaining - a figure 10% higher than the national average. Variation by deprivation is also significant, with the least deprived group drinking 4% more than the most deprived, as recognised in the alcohol harm paradox.
Nationally, 236 million litres of pure alcohol were sold through the off-trade in England in 2014, equating to 10.6 units per adult each week. Consumption is of course skewed, with those drinking above the guidelines consuming as much as 69% of all alcohol sold. Wine accounted for the largest volume of off-trade sales per head at 39%, followed by 27% for beer.
Binge drinking, still classified as drinking more than 6 units on an occasion for women or more than 8 units for men, also varied significantly, with a national average of 16.5% having 'binged' on their heaviest drinking day for the previous week. Interestingly, no correlation between binge drinking and deprivation was seen, although the value of looking at 'snapshots' like heaviest drinking day for assessing consumption has been questioned.
What about national trends?
Whilst the LAPE profiles are intended to support areas identify local authority level data to inform needs assessment and planning, policy debates typically focus on national consumption. The most recent HSE data again identified a clear trend of falling consumption amongst young people, but with middle to older age adults at risk of rising consumption and harms. Recent APMS data shows whilst hazardous drinking has fallen, harmful and dependent drinking has remained stable. Last year MESAS data has indicated an end to the downward trend in national consumption, although predictions for the future of consumption and harms is indeed a complex business.