London: Alcohol consumption in Britain continues to grow with the Brits now drinking more than Russians, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation. In addition teenage drinkers in the UK are the drunks of Europe.
WHO figures show that the average Brit drinks 9.29 litres of alcohol each year, compared with 8.87 in Russia.
Luxembourg is in No1 place, followed by the Czech Republic, Estonia and Germany, with the UK 17 and Russia 18 in the league table of drinkers.
The data reveal that in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, England came top of a European table for drunkenness among 11- and 13-year olds, with twice the levels in Russia.
The increase in drinking is linked the decrease in people setting down to traditional adult responsibilities, such as marriage, say the authors pf a report due to be published in May from the International Center for Alcohol Policies, a Washington-based group.
The study, Swimming with Crocodiles: The Culture of Extreme Drinking, also cites World Health Organisation figures showing that almost twice as many English 15-year-olds as Russians claim to have been drunk more than twice.
In the UK, for example, the number of adults still living with their parents has risen by a fifth among men and almost a third among women in 15 years. About 60% of men and 40% of women aged 20-24 live with their parents.