Brian Boyd states that “moderate” and “heavy” drinking are highly subjective and nuanced terms in this country (“Moderate drinking is good for you. Except when it’s bad for you”, Opinion & Analysis, June 8th). In fact they are not. The HSE low-risk drinking guidelines are up to 11 standard drinks for women, and 17 for men, per week, with at least two alcohol-free days. Anyone drinking above the guidelines is drinking at a level that is dangerous to their health and is advised to cut down.
A standard drink (previously called a unit) contains 10 grams of pure alcohol: that is a glass of beer, a pub measure of spirits or a small (100ml) glass of wine. Understanding these measures and the weekly guidelines is critical for anyone seeking to reduce their drinking: the first step to changing a behaviour is to recognise and understand it.
At Drinkaware, we are focused on developing tools that help people to understand the low-risk drinking guidelines, and apply them. Our online calculator, standard drinks wheel and measure cup are tailored to that purpose. We hope that, through these tools and our wider communications, there will be no need for anyone committed to drinking within the guidelines to carry a pyrex measuring jug around with them, and that, in time, this understanding will be a given among all adults.