Dry January: Nearly 40,000 East Sussex drinkers expected to ditch alcohol

Nearly 40,000 people in East Sussex are expected to quit drinking for Dry January this year.

Around one in ten drinkers in the UK are planning to start the new year with an entire month of sobriety, according to the charity Alcohol Change UK.

The NHS advises people not to regularly consume more than 14 units of alcohol a week

The NHS advises people not to regularly consume more than 14 units of alcohol a week

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That is a grand total of 4.2 million people kicking their booze habit.

In East Sussex, an estimated 90 per cent of adults drink alcohol, according to the most recent figures from Public Health England.

That means around 39,200 drinkers could be planning to go cold turkey from New Year’s Day.

Alcohol Change UK, which runs the challenge, said those taking part can expect to feel healthier, save money, and improve their relationship with alcohol in the long term.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Put simply, Dry January can change lives.

“Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too.

“Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight. The list goes on.”

Alcohol abstinence in East Sussex is far less popular than in other parts of the country.

Only around ten per cent of people said they live booze-free lives, compared to 15 per cent across England.

The area also has a higher than average population of heavy drinkers.

Around 27 per cent of people said they drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week – the NHS’s recommended safe limit – compared to 26 per cent across England.

That is the equivalent of more than six pints of average strength beer or six standard glasses of wine.

NHS guidelines also advise against binge drinking, which it defines as drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.

But in East Sussex, 12 per cent of adults surveyed admitted to binge drinking on their heaviest day of drinking in the last week.

Dr Piper continued: “The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January.

“Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise.

“That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.”

• Report by Harriet Clugston, data reporter