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Binge Drinking Costs £13.5 Million a Day

March 31, 2015
Public Health

alcoholResearchers from the Universities of Bath and Essex have calculated that binge drinking costs the UK economy £4.9 billion a year. Looking at all the factors on which binge drinking has an effect, including A&E admissions, road accidents and the number of police officers required to maintain law and order, they concluded that the daily cost of the habit was equivalent to £13.5 million. The figures do not include the long term costs such as reduced productivity, lost employment, and long term health problems.

For the purposes of the study, binge drinking was considered to be the consumption of 12 or more units of alcohol in any one period of drinking. Dr Jonathan James of the University of Bath explained this is the first time the effects of binge drinking have been quantified. “Much is known about the effects and costs of sustained heavy drinking in relation to increased risks of chronic diseases, the damage to social relationships and the increased burden placed on public services,” he said. “However, little is known about the economic and social effects of binge drinking. We hope this calculation of the economic costs can act as a catalyst for policy makers in the UK to take targeted action that reduces the cost of binge drinking to society.”

The study’s authors are calling on the government to consider measures such as a 52p minimum unit price for alcohol, and an increase in excise duty in line with alcohol content to try to combat the problem.

You can view a copy of the full report here