Alcohol costing every drinker over £62,000 over a lifetime
New figures released in time for Alcohol Awareness Week show the personal costs of alcohol are nearly £63,000 over a lifetime.
Evidence now shows that alcohol is a cause of heart disease, liver disease, stroke, increased blood pressure, and seven types of cancer. But the figures show that the average UK drinker is spending an estimated £62,899 on alcohol over a lifetime.
In the North East the spend is likely to be much greater with an estimated 47% of adults and six out of 10 men, or around 855,000 people drinking above recommended low risk guidelines of no more than 14 units a week (Balance Perfect Storm survey and report, 2021).
Balance is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week – the annual campaign from Alcohol Change to increase awareness around the impacts of alcohol.
Susan Taylor, Head of Alcohol Policy for Balance the North East Alcohol Programme, said: “We already know alcohol is a drug, where the damage to the body and brain can mount up with every drinking session over the years.
“But these new figures show how the financial costs also add up and harm our wallets. £63,000 is a huge amount of money and at a time when we’re all feeling the pinch, it makes you wonder what else you could spend that on. In addition, there is a personal toll from alcohol – Even just a couple of glasses can leave us with low energy, poor sleep and low mood. By reducing our drinking, we can take back control and reduce our health risks and expenditure in the short and longer term.”
The survey for Alcohol Awareness Week from Alcohol Change (2) also found nationally:
- One in five drinkers (19%) consider alcohol to be an essential item in their shopping basket. This rises to 39% of drinkers at increasing risk of alcohol harm and 65% at high risk
- One in ten (9%) drinkers said they have prioritised buying alcohol over essential items. This rises to 19% for those drinking at increasing risk, and 25% for those at high risk of alcohol harm
- Among those who drink, one in seven (15%) said that in the last six months they have been worried about how much they are drinking. The same proportion (15%) have also been worried, in the last six months, about the amount of alcohol someone in their household has been drinking.
- Having more opportunities to socialise (32%), work and home pressures (28%), relationship problems (16%), and trying to cope with financial worries (16%), were some of the reasons cited for causing some people to drink more than previously in the past six months.
- Those that are now drinking less, in the past six months, said that they did so for physical and mental health reasons (44%), and due to the cost of living (34%).
For tips, advice and local support to cut down or stop drinking, visit ReduceMyRisk.tv