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Binge-drinking: UK leads the world; India not far behind

The Global Drug Survey released in London on Thursday reports that Britons got drunk 51.1 times over a year – almost once every week.

world Updated: May 17, 2019 12:15 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
The figure for Bacchus-loving Indians is 41. Other countries in the top ten are Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Finland(Getty Images/ Representative Image)

The UK has topped a global survey of binge-drinking with more cases than any other country, with India finishing sixth in the top ten such countries dominated by the English-speaking world.

The Global Drug Survey released in London on Thursday reports that Britons got drunk 51.1 times over a year – almost once every week. The United States (50.3), Canada (47.9) and Australia (47.4) followed the United Kingdom in the list dubbed the “league of shame”.

The figure for Bacchus-loving Indians is 41. Other countries in the top ten are Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Finland.

South American countries reported getting drunk on the lowest number of occasions (Chile 16 times a year, Colombia and Germany tied at 22). The group’s annual survey explored the use of drugs as well as alcohol.

Adam Winstock, the founder of the survey, said while fewer people were drinking, many still drank to excess.

“We get told too much is bad, and it is, but current guidelines fail to accept the pleasure of intoxication and give a little guide on the difference between being a little drunk and a lot drunk, and doing it three to four times a year versus weekly,” Winstock said.

“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,” he added.

Globally, participants who drank alcohol in the last 12 months reported regretting getting drunk on 20% of occasions, with the highest rates of regret being reported among women aged 25 years and older (24.2%) and lowest among males aged 25 years and younger (17%).

Women over 25 years from German-speaking countries regretted getting drunk most often (33%). Participants who reported high-risk drinking patterns — as assessed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) alcohol problem screening tool, the AUDIT — regretted getting drunk almost twice as often (35%) than the participants with low-risk drinking (19%).

The survey, based on data from 123,814 people from more than 30 countries, reported that as many as 60% said they went clubbing four or more times a year.

Of the people surveyed, 59% were male, the mean age was 29 years, and 57% of the sample was aged 25 years or under and 19% aged 35 years and older.

First Published: May 17, 2019 12:14 IST