Binge drinking in young adults is on the decrease according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The new research indicates that the percentage of young adults binging at least once a week decreased between 2005 and 2013 by a total of 11%. While 29% binged at least once a week in 2005, that figure had reduced to 18% by the end of the eight year period.

In order for a male adult to have been considered to binge they must consume at least eight units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking day. For women, the measurements for binge-drinking are slightly less; they must drink more than six units of alcohol in one day to be considered to have binged.

The ONS’s research also indicated that among young adults those who participated in ‘frequent drinking’ also fell by two thirds over the period, and the number of students not drinking at all rose from 19% in 2005 to 27% in 2013.

The results among young people reflect a wider trend across the whole of the UK: binge-drinking among all UK adults fell by 3% from 18% in 2005 to 15% in 2013.

Some analysts have put the decline in binge-drinking down to a change in the ethnic and cultural make-up of Britain, meaning that those who culturally drink less (or not at all) has led to a decline in the national figures.
A Department of Health spokesperson welcomed the new figures: “It is extremely pleasing to see that the number of people binge drinking continues to go down, and it is particularly good to see that young people are drinking less, and hopefully getting into healthier drinking habits for life”.

The statistics from the ONS provide an interesting comparison to the results of Concrete’s 2015 Drugs and Alcohol Survey. According to the survey, students at UEA do not follow the ONS trend; there has been an increase in the number of students who drink more than once a week over the last 12 months.

Last year’s results highlighted that 45.58% of students drank more than once a week compared to this year’s 47.19%.

However, despite the increase, the results indicated that over the last 12 months there has been a 5.34% decrease in the number of students who believe that they drink an acceptable amount. Last year 83.2% of students felt they drank an acceptable amount compared with 77.86% this year.

Full results of Concrete’s Drugs and Alcohol survey can be found in the Drug’s and Alcohol Survey supplement.