People in Hackney urged to check their drinking levels during Alcohol Awareness Week 2019


People in Hackney are being encouraged to check their drinking levels during Alcohol Awareness Week 2019, (11-17 November), to ensure they are consuming alcohol at low risk levels that minimise the risks to their health, wellbeing and personal safety. 

More than a third of adults in Hackney are estimated to drink 14 or more units of alcohol every week (14 units a week is the limit for low risk drinking), [1].  More than 70 per cent of residents have a misconception about their personal drinking habits; they believe they are not drinking to excess, but are actually classified as high risk drinkers. It is also estimated that 83 per cent of people in Hackney, who are dependent on alcohol, are not receiving treatment or support for this.

Almost half (48%) of Hackney residents report they do not drink and almost 90 per cent of residents say they have at least 2 alcohol free days. 

To help residents check how much they are drinking, Hackney’s Public Health team, Hackney’s Recovery Service and Young Hackney are working in partnership joining forces with local health partners to run stalls across the borough, during Alcohol Awareness Week. People can visit any of the stalls to take part in a simple quiz which will help them identify how much they are actually drinking and whether it is within recognised safe drinking limits. 

The stalls will be on the following days at the following times in the following locations:

  • Monday 11 November 2019 from 11.30am to 4.30pm at Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, London, E8 1DY 
  • Monday 11 November 2019 from 1pm to 4pm at Homerton University Hospital reception, Homerton Row, Clapton, London, E9 6SR
  • Tuesday 12 November from 11am to 2pm at BSix College, Kenninghall Road, Hackney Downs, London, E5 8BP
  • Wednesday 13 November from 2pm to 4pm in Gillet Square, Dalston, London, N16 8JH
  • Wednesday 13 November from 5pm - 7pm at Dalston Junction station, Dalston Lane, Dalston, London E8 3DE
  • Thursday 14 November from 10am to 12pm at St Ignatius Church, 27 High Road, London, N15 6ND
  • Friday 15 November from 11.30am to 4.30pm at Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, London, E8 1DY
  • Friday 15 November from 2pm to 4pm at Providence Row Housing Association, (PRHA), 15 Elsdale Street, London E9 6QW

There is also a simple online test - https://www.alcoholtest.org.uk/alcohol-test - that people can use to check how much alcohol they are actually drinking.  People are also being urged to keep safe when out and about across the borough enjoying Hackney’s nightlife.


Hackney statistics

[1] For more information about key drinking behaviours and people’s perceptions about safe drinking, please see Hackney’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (substance misuse chapter).

  • About a third of Hackney adults are estimated to drink above the low-risk limit (14 units of alcohol per week).

  • About a fifth of Hackney adults report binge drinking

  • There is a personal misconception for people about their safe drinking limits and actual alcohol consumption; 77% of residents who thought they did not drink to excess but ‘probably drank a little more than is really good for them’, and 71% of those who thought they drank ‘more or less’ within safe limits, were actually classified as high risk drinkers (using the AUDIT-C tool)

  • It is estimated that 83% of adults in Hackney who are dependant on alcohol are not receiving treatment for this

  • Almost half (48%) of Hackney residents do not drink

  • Almost 90% (88%) of residents have alcohol free days at least 2 days a week, 77% have at least 3. 

National statistics

  • Alcohol has been described as the UK's favourite coping mechanism and many of us drink to help manage stress, anxiety, depression. However, alcohol often actually makes these symptoms worse and taking a break from alcohol can improve mental wellbeing. 

  • Many people associate dating and sexual relationships with alcohol but longer term heavy drinking for men and women can lead to loss of libido, impotency and health issues. 

  • Statistically drinkers are more likely to be employed than non-drinkers. This means the effect of over consumption of alcohol is often felt in the workplace. The workplace can also therefore be a good place to help people identify and overcome alcohol problems

  • On average alcohol consumption tends to be higher among people in managerial and professional roles compared to lower paid occupations.

  • Drinking too much can have a negative impact on employee productivity and wellbeing. However, 27% of people say that the workplace makes them drink more and many workplace cultures encourage drinking.

  • It’s safest to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week (about 6 pints of lager or 1.5 bottles of wine) and to spread your drinking over 3 or more days but also to have several alcohol free days a week. Alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions, including liver disease, at least 6 forms of cancer and depression. To keep your risk as low as possible, try to drink less than 14 units a week and have several free days. Go to alcoholtest.org.uk to find out how risky your drinking is.

  • Not everyone drinks alcohol. For tips on how to reduce how much you drink visit alcoholchange.org 

  • Many people use alcohol to manage feelings of anxiety and depression, however it actually often makes these symptoms worse. If you are feeling low, anxious or are experiencing other symptoms of mental health problems speak to your local GP or get help at www.mind.org.uk