Brits are ‘biggest boozers in the world’ new study finds

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Time to wine down: a study has found adults in the UK get drunk more often than anywhere else in the world
Time to wine down: a study has found adults in the UK get drunk more often than anywhere else in the world
British people have the most prolific boozing habits compared to any other nationality, a major global study has found.

According to a study from the Global Drug Survey – which examined 36 countries worldwide – the UK has the most inebriated inhabitants on the planet.

The study comes amid new research which found that global alcohol consumption has increased 70% in less than 30 years.

In response to the survey, Britons admitted to getting drunk an average of 51.1 times in a 12-month period – almost once a week.

Damning results

Researchers based in London surveyed 5,400 people from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and more than 120,000 globally between 29 October and 30 December last year.

The results, which were published today (16 May) in the eighth annual report from what is claimed to be the largest drug survey in the world.

English-speaking countries led the way for how often their citizens get drunk, with the US, Canada and Australia closely following the UK at the top of the global rankings.

Researchers believe it may be time to introduce guidelines on how to get drunk more safely, as the findings reveal binge drinkers currently see recommended limits as “irrelevant”.

The study comes at a time when there is an overall downward trend of drinking levels in the UK, with abstention on the rise, particularly among young adults.

Health risks

Survey founder professor Adam Winstock said while fewer people were drinking, many that do are doing so in a “potentially harmful way”.

He explained: “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 three to four times a year versus weekly.

“In the UK we don't tend to do moderation, we end up getting drunk because that is the point of the evening.”

Current NHS guidelines say there is no ‘safe’ level of drinking and that men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis, which is around six pints of beer.


Winstock said he urges people to be aware of how much they are drinking on a night out.

He concluded: “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.

“Getting drunk carries risks of injury and health harm, but we need to start highlighting the risks at different levels of drinking even if they are above safe limits.”

NHS officials are not believed to be looking into amending advice around drinking measures.

Related topics: Health & safety

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more


Subscribe to The Morning Advertiser

The definitive voice for the pub trade

Get the latest news, analysis and insights from the uk pub sector straight to your inbox!

Listen to The MA Podcast