Alcohol is the second most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the UK (after caffeine) and is highly prevalent in personal and social situations. Nearly 30 million adult Brits say they drink alcohol, an indication of alcohol's ubiquity and presence in so many areas of British society today.

Brits' drinking habits have evolved over time in various ways, and have in turn affected the health of different social groups.

For example, since the year 2000, the gap between men and women’s alcohol consumption has closed markedly, the proportion of underage drinkers (defined here as those who purchase alcohol for consumption before they reach the minimum legal purchase age of 18) has receded, young drinkers' intake (adults between 16 and 24 years of age) has become less frequent (but no less heavy), and survey data appear to show alcohol-related health issues mounting among a generation of older-aged Brits (those between 45 and 64 years of age), who appear to be relatively heavier drinkers than previous generations.

The resources on this webpage provide information about alcohol’s impact on different demographic groups.

Briefings

Infographics