Date of release: Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Don't stockpile drink for the Olympics, according to University of Greenwich expertRio 2016 should not mean a "booze Olympics" in UK homes, according to a University of Greenwich academic.
Dr John Foster, an expert on alcohol and mental health in the university's Faculty of Education & Health, says there is no need to stockpile at home for the Games, which start on Friday (5 August).

He says: "As drink is so cheap, it's tempting to stockpile, but we don't need to buy in bulk. People need to move away from having large amounts of alcohol in the house – such as crates of beer of wine – because if it's there it gets drunk. It does in my house, and research suggests this is typical.

"Discount offers tend to come out around sporting events, such as the Olympics or this summer's European football championships, so it is tempting to stock up."

John has studied closely the rise in home drinking in the UK and believes the 'big stick' approach does not work. The government's safe drinking guidelines say men or women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week and have two days alcohol free. This is the equivalent of seven pints of ordinary strength beer or one and a half bottles of wine over a week.

"It's not much is it, and that's why people ignore the guidelines," he adds. "If alcohol was a bit more expensive and a bit less available then research shows that people will make sensible decisions. You have to trust them to do that.

"Supermarkets spend millions designing their stores to influence the way we shop. In Scandinavia they keep drink behind a counter, although I'm not suggesting we do that."

John adds that studies show people who abstain can be more anxious or depressed generally. Drinking heavily stores up problems for the future, but in moderation it can be a positive thing - a sign of social integration and a "social lubricant".

"In the UK and across most western societies people who drink are regarded more positively then those who don't," says John. "High strength, expensive gins and vodkas are also getting more popular, as if they're seen as a badge of culture and aspiration.

"At home I tend not to drink beer, although the standard is infinitely better than even 15 years ago. My partner and I will get through four bottles of wine at home in a week, usually pinot grigio or rioja.

"I probably go out twice a week and would normally have two or three pints of ordinary strength beer, which is fairly typical for someone in their 50s. If alcohol was a little bit more expensive and not so easy to buy I would probably drink a little less."

Story by Public Relations