Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 16:14 UK

Affluent drinkers are 'in denial'

Drinkers
The study found binge drinkers came from all walks of life

Problem levels of alcohol consumption typically associated with deprived communities are also common among the more affluent, new research has found.

An NHS Health Scotland study carried out by researchers at the University of Stirling found half of those who took part drank twice the safe weekly limit.

At least 75% also admitted at least one binge-drinking episode within a seven-day period.

The report recommends raising the price of alcohol and limiting availability.

The research was carried out between 2006 and 2008 and involved men and women over 18 years of age, from deprived and more affluent backgrounds.

Many people in Scotland distance themselves from the idea of problem drinking, often not realising that they too are drinking far more than is recommended
Susan Haw
NHS Health Scotland

It included people who drink at home, those who drink in local bars and bar workers.

Susan MacAskill, senior researcher from the Institute for Social Marketing at Stirling, said: "It's clear that drinking in Scotland has many positive aspects, with alcohol acting both as a relaxant and a social lubricant.

"However, when people were asked to itemise their drinking over the previous week, many were very surprised by how much they had really drunk."

Researchers discovered that those who drank at home typically poured themselves far larger measures than they would receive in a bar.

Generally, the study found that home drinkers regularly exceeded the recommended weekly alcohol intake but tended to spread their drinking more evenly and so did not display "problem behaviour" or overt drunkenness.

Sally Haw, principal public health adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said: "Many people in Scotland distance themselves from the idea of problem drinking, often not realising that they too are drinking far more than is recommended.

"The research from the Institute for Social Marketing has shown that many Scots from all walks of life are drinking at levels that are harmful to health, and confirms that a major cultural shift is needed across all age groups and sections of society if we are to tackle the nation's alcohol epidemic."

NHS Health Scotland is calling for the alcohol industry's advertising, sponsorship and marketing strategies to be challenged.

The report also concludes that drinkers have a better understanding of their consumption behaviour.


SEE ALSO
Alcohol misuse 'costing 2.25bn'
06 May 08 |  Scotland
Eight-year-olds 'abuse alcohol'
30 Apr 08 |  Scotland
Drink age 'could be raised to 21'
21 Mar 08 |  Scotland
NHS anti-alcohol funding doubled
20 Mar 08 |  Scotland
MacAskill wants alcohol tax rise
25 Feb 08 |  Scotland

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