There are two key sources which measure drinking levels: Local Alcohol Profiles England (LAPE) and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT-C).

Please note: both sources use classifications based on the previous CMO alcohol guidelines (and not those in Box 2) and will, therefore, underestimate the number the number and proportion of people drinking at increasing (and high) risk levels.


LAPE provides estimates on drinking behaviours in each local authority, based on data from a national survey. 1 LAPE distinguishes between ‘increasing’ and ‘high’ risk, and provides an estimate of binge drinking. Category definitions are being revised in light of new guidance.

Risk levels by alcohol units consumed on a regular basis Lower Risk Increasing Risk Higher Risk Binge
Men 3-4 units/day or 21/week 4-8 units/day or 21-50/week >8 units/day or 50/week >8 units
Women 2-3 units/day or 14/week 3-6 units/day or 22-35/week >6 units/day or 35/week >6 units


AUDIT-C calculates levels of risk differently, and groups together ‘increasing’ and ‘high’ risk into ‘higher’ risk drinkers.  Scores from the three questions are summed to give a total score between 0 and 12 – a score of five or more indicates increasing or higher risk drinking. The final question also provides implied estimates of binge drinking.

AUDIT-C is a validated tool that is used to screen for alcohol-related problems. It is quick and easy to use as part of a questionnaire and is widely used in primary care across the UK and many other countries. A range of studies have confirmed the validity and efficiency of AUDIT (a longer version of the tool) and AUDIT-C in the identification of harmful use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol. 2

0 1 2 3 4
How often do you have a drink containing alcohol? Never Monthly or less 2-4 times per month 2-3 times per week 4+ times per week
How many units of alcohol do you drink on a typical day when you are drinking? 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-9 10+
How often have you had 6 or more units if female, or 8 or more if male, on a single occasion in the last year? Never Less than monthly Monthly Weekly Daily/almost daily


  1. Public Health England, “Local authority alcohol indicators (updated 30/9/2014),” 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 8 August 2016].
  2. de Meneses-Gaya, Carolina; Zuardi, Antonio Waldo; Loureiro, Sonia Regina; Crippa, José Alexandre S., “Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): An updated systematic review of psychometric properties,” Psychology & Neuroscience, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 83-97, 2009.