Consultation on Health and Social Care Statistical Products

Although the volume of alcohol consumed is a clear indicator of potential harm to health, there are other factors that affect the relationship:

  • societal vulnerability factors such as alcohol pricing, drinking culture, and socioeconomic-status
  • individual vulnerability factors such as age, gender, and mental health status

The impact of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence is much greater for those in the lowest income bracket and those experiencing the highest levels of deprivation. The reasons for this are not fully understood since people on a low income do not tend to consume more alcohol than people from higher socioeconomic groups. This is known as the ‘alcohol harm paradox’. The increased risk is likely to relate to the combination of multiple risk factors affecting people in lower socioeconomic groups.

The areas with the lowest rates of alcohol related mortality are mainly found in the south of England. On the contrary, councils with the highest rates are situated predominantly within the North West and North East.

Tackling alcohol related harm is an important route to reducing health inequalities in general. Alcohol related factors are found across all 4 of the domains in the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England:

  • improving the wider determinants of health
  • health improvement
  • health protection
  • healthcare public health and preventing premature mortality

Alcohol treatment can contribute to making improvements in:

  • hospital-related admissions
  • child poverty
  • employment for those with a long-term health condition
  • social isolation
  • falls and injuries in those over 65
  • self-harm
  • treatment completion for tuberculosis
  • premature mortality from liver disease
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancer


More information

Alcohol Change UK 

Alcohol Change UK was formerly known as Alcohol Concern/Alcohol Research UK.

Acces the Alcohol Change UK: Alcohol and inequalities page.


The Alcohol Harm Paradox

Accessible overview and synthesis of the main findings from a project to understand the alcohol harm paradox to focus the development of interventions.

Acces the Understanding the alcohol harm paradox in order to focus the development of interventions.


Smoking, drinking and drug use among hard to reach children and young people; an evidence synthesis report

A rapid review which examines the prevalence of smoking, drinking and drug use among ‘hard to reach’ children and young people.

Hard to reach include children and young people who are:

  • young offenders
  • not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • truants
  • care leavers
  • homeless individuals
  • living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas

Access the Smoking, drinking and drug use among hard to reach children and young people; an evidence review page.