Published Thursday, 27th December 2018

City of York Council is supporting calls for residents in the city to try having a Dry January in 2019 and enjoy the benefits from having a break from drinking.

A YouGov poll released this month has revealed that one in ten people who drink – an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK – are already planning to do Dry January in 2019.1 Dry January participants stop drinking alcohol for one month to feel healthier, save money and improve their relationship with alcohol long term.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “After the excesses of the festive period, Dry January can help you to have a healthy start to 2019. This year millions of people are trying to go alcohol-free this January. Dry January isn’t about not drinking alcohol again, it is about giving your body a break after the festive period. It's also a great way to show yourself and others that you can still go out and have a good time without drinking. You may also realise benefits such as saving money, sleeping better and getting healthier.”

Councillor Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council said: "Taking part in the Dry January campaign is a great way to raise awareness of the risks associated with drinking too much alcohol and also to raise awareness and money for charities helping those affected by alcohol in a variety of ways. With so many taking part there will be plenty of encouragement and support for from people. The website and app is also there to point people to help and advice as well."

Current low risk drinking guidelines say that men and women shouldn’t drink more than 14 units per week. If you do drink as much as 14 units, then it should be spread evenly across three or more days.

Dry January is run by the charity Alcohol Change UK.  Signing up for Dry January increases the chances of getting the most out of the month. You can download Try Dry: The Dry January App to track your units, money and calories saved, plus many more features. Or you can sign up at dryjanuary.org.uk for regular support emails with tips and tricks from experts and others like you.

In York 30 per cent of adults drink over the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week, compared to the England average of 26 per cent.

Taking part in Dry January helps people to drink more healthily year-round, according to independent research conducted by the University of Sussex with over 800 Dry January participants.2 It showed that Dry January participants were still drinking less in August:

  • Drinking days per week dropped on average from 4.3 to 3.3
  • Units consumed per drinking day on average from 8.6 to 7.1
  • Frequency of drunkenness on average from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month.

For all of these measures, people who drank more riskily before Dry January saw bigger decreases in the amount and regularity of their drinking – suggesting that Dry January is particularly helpful for heavier drinkers.3

The research also showed that:

  • 93% of participants had a sense of achievement
  • 88% saved money
  • 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink
  • 80% feel more in control of their drinking
  • 76% learned more about when and why they drink
  • 71% realised they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves
  • 70% had generally improved health
  • 71% slept better
  • 67% had more energy
  • 58% lost weight
  • 57% had better concentration
  • 54% had better skin.

 

ENDS

1 The poll found that 8% of UK adults are planning to do Dry January, or one in ten of those who drink. Figure of 4.2 million UK adults planning to do Dry January: total population aged 18+ in the UK (ONS, Population Estimates for UK: mid-2017, table MYE2); 52,078,525 x .08 = 4,166,282. Total sample size for the YouGov survey was 2,055 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30 November - 1 December 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

2 Figures are taken from independent research completed by Dr Richard de Visser, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, during and after Dry January 2018. They come from three self-completed online surveys: 2,821 on registering for Dry January, 1,715 in the first week of February (one month follow up), 816 participants in August (six month follow up).

3 If you drink very heavily or regularly Dry January may not be for you, so check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start. Where an individual is experiencing physical symptoms when they stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to: shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) they should seek medical help urgently.

The charity behind Dry January

Alcohol Change UK is the charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research. In addition to running Dry January, we work for a world free from alcohol harm. We fund, commission and share research; work to ensure more and better support and treatment; encourage better policy and regulation; shift drinking cultures through our campaigns; and work to change drinking behaviours by providing advice and information. Find out more.

How to sign up

People can sign up for Dry January at dryjanuary.org.uk, or by downloading the brand-new app Try Dry: The Dry January app via the App Store or Google Play. People who sign up to Dry January are more likely to make it through to the end of the month without drinking. They get access to support, tips and tricks, and more. The app allows people to track their units, calories and money saved not drinking, plus track their drinking year-round.

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