Over a third of Scots binge drink on a weekly basis

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Scots are the biggest binge drinkers in the UK, research by the Office for National Statistics has suggested.

A report published today found that 37.3 per cent of Scots binge drink during their heaviest day of drinking, compared to 30.4 per cent in Wales and 26.2 per cent in England. Binge drinking is defined as males who exceeded eight units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking and just six units for females.

Scots are more likely to binge than their UK counterparts according to the ONS (Photo: Shutterstock)

Scots are more likely to binge than their UK counterparts according to the ONS (Photo: Shutterstock)

A lower proportion of Scots, however, had drank in the previous week compared to their English counterparts. 53.5% of survey respondents from Scotland revealed that they had drank in the previous week, compared to 57.8% in England and 50% in Wales.

Minimum price for alcohol

The figures' release came on the same day that the Scottish Government introduced a minimum unit price for alcohol - the first country in the world to do so. A unit of alcohol can now not be priced lower than 50p, as a result of the new legislation.

The measures aim to reduce alcohol related deaths in Scotland and reign in the culture of binge drinking.

Proportion (%) of drinkers who exceeded 6/8 units on their heaviest drinking day, areas of Great Britain, 2017 (Photo: ONS)

Proportion (%) of drinkers who exceeded 6/8 units on their heaviest drinking day, areas of Great Britain, 2017 (Photo: ONS)

According to the Scottish government the rate of alcohol-related deaths is 1.5 times higher than in 1980.

More than 10 million people in Great Britain are teetotal

The report from ONS also made several other findings.

Around 7,100 people in Great Britain over the age of 16 were asked about their drinking habits in 2017 for this new report.

the rate of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland is 1.5 times higher than in 1980 (Photo: Shutterstock)

the rate of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland is 1.5 times higher than in 1980 (Photo: Shutterstock)

The survey findings state that 57 per cent of respondents drank alcohol in 2017, equating to 29.2 million people. On the opposite end of the scale, 20.4 per cent of those who took part (10.4 million people) did not drink alcohol at all.


The latest government guidelines recommend that individuals should not regularly consumer more than 14 units of alcohol per week, and that these units should be spread over three or more days.

The study was self-reported, meaning that participants provided information about their alcohol consumption with no formal checks in place

Young people drink less while high earners drink more


Young people aged between 16 and 24 are less likely to drink than any other age group, although their consumption on their heaviest drinking day tends to be higher than that of other ages.


High earners and those working in managerial and professional occupations proved most likely to say they had consumed alcohol in the past week.

Men drink more than women


 When looking at the data with regard to gender, 61.9 per cent of men and 52.4 per cent of women drank alcohol in the week prior to interview, suggesting that men drink more than women.


However, as the information is self-reported, it is possible that female respondents did not feel comfortable disclosing their true drinking habits due to social pressure.