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Alcohol Profile highlights Islanders' drinking

17 November 2015

Jersey’s average alcohol consumption per capita remains among the highest in Europe and developed countries – in spite of a considerable reduction over the past decade.

The newly-updated Jersey Alcohol Profile 2015, compiled by the Public Health Directorate’s Health Intelligence Unit, is launched today and includes worrying evidence that around one in four Islanders who drink alcohol do so at levels likely to affect their health and wellbeing.

The key findings in the Profile include

  • although alcohol consumption per capita in Jersey has fallen to an average of 12 litres of pure alcohol per year, the figure is one of the highest in Europe, significantly higher than the OECD average of nine litres
  • one in 10 people in Jersey report not drinking any alcohol
  • one in four drinkers were found to be drinking at potentially hazardous or harmful levels
  • an average of 15 people a year die from conditions directly related to alcohol consumption
  • around 500 people a year are admitted to the hospital for a specific alcohol-related condition
  • at least 500 domestic violence incidents involving alcohol have been reported to the States of Jersey Police since the beginning of 2012

Some findings in the report are more positive:

  • the majority of pregnant woman (94 per cent) don’t drink alcohol
  • fewer young people are drinking, and those who do drink less than their UK counterparts

The author of the report, Marguerite Clarke, explains “The profile covers a range of topics from drinking habits and behaviours of adults and children, drinking-related ill-health and mortality, alcohol pricing and alcohol-related costs. The report uses data from a range of sources including the Jersey Annual Social Survey, Hospital data and data provided by States of Jersey Departments.”

No room for complacency

Responding to the profile, Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Turnbull said “There is definitely no room for complacency. We are still flashing red on some of the indicators, and hazardous levels of alcohol consumption continue to take their toll on adult Islanders’ health. However, there are certainly some signs of an improving picture. Jersey’s young people report mostly healthier lifestyles and are showing positive improvements in behaviours such as smoking and drinking, so there is hope for a healthier future.”

When asked about the findings, Head of Health Improvement, Martin Knight said “The report supports global evidence that fiscal measures to increase the price of alcohol, such as escalating duty, have an impact on reducing consumption. Locally, our reducing trend in consumption coincides with an increasing trend in prices of alcoholic drinks.  This has the greatest impact on those who drink the most, and on young people’s binge drinking.”

Health Minister, Senator Andrew Green commented “This report will be very useful in informing and supporting firm measures within the next stages of Jersey’s Alcohol Strategy, which aims to reduce the harm caused by alcohol misuse.”


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