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A quarter of adults in England are hazardous drinkers

One in three men and one in six women – a quarter of all adults in England - are estimated to be hazardous drinkers, says a new report from The NHS Information Centre.

In 2007, the drinking habits of 33% of men and 16% of women were classed as hazardous, which means their established drinking patterns put them at risk of physical and psychological harm.

Six per cent of men and 2% of women were estimated to be harmful drinkers, the most serious form of hazardous drinking, which means they are likely to suffer physical or mental harm, such as liver disease or depression.

The report Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2009, brings different information on alcohol together from a variety of sources.

It also includes figures on drinking dependence that allow a comparison between 2000 and 2007 to be made. The report estimates that in 2007, 9% of men and 4% of women showed some sign of alcohol dependence.

The report also includes survey information about attitudes to alcohol. It estimates that in 2007, 17% of school pupils aged 11 to 15 thought it was okay to get drunk at least once a week. However the proportion of pupils who have never had a proper alcoholic drink was 46% in 2007 compared to 39% in 2003.

NHS Information Centre Chief Executive, Tim Straughan, said: "An estimated quarter of adults are at risk of damaging their mental or physical health because of their drinking habits.

"The report shows a significant amount of people are at risk of actual harm to themselves, which in turn results in more work for the NHS."

The NHS Information Centre