Methodology

How does drinks meter work?

drinks meter asks you simple questions about your drinking and provides immediate personalised feedback, along with the chance to check your answers and get further information. drinks meter takes about 3–8 minutes to complete.

How do we calculate how much you use?

We work out how much you drank last week using an easy to use drink assessment tool and then convert that into units (and yes we even tell you what a unit is!).

How do we adjust how much you use based on your individual make up?

The Personal Risk Adjuster Tool (PRAT) is a set of simple questions that adjust the risks associated with the amount of alcohol you are using, based on your unique personal profile.

So if you have a particular risk (such as a history of depression or liver problems) drinks meter increases your drinking as a way of showing you that you are more vulnerable alcohol related harm.

While the PRAT is only a rough guide and cannot tell you if your use of alcohol is without risk of harm, it is based on what we know from medical research and gives an insight in to how vulnerable you may be to alcohol related harms

drinks meter also contains the World Health Organisation’s 10 item AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) which screens for alcohol related problems. Last year our Global Drug Survey revealed that 20% of people who were identified as alcohol dependent by the AUDIT thought their drinking was average or below average. The AUDIT is scored as shown below:

  • Total scores of 8 or more are recommended as indicators of hazardous and harmful alcohol use, as well as possible alcohol dependence
  • Technically speaking, higher scores simply indicate greater likelihood of hazardous and harmful drinking. However, such scores may also reflect greater severity of alcohol problems and dependence, as well as a greater need for more intensive treatment
  • AUDIT scores in the range of 8–15 represented a medium level of alcohol problems whereas scores of 16 and above represented a high level of alcohol problems
  • AUDIT scores of 20 or above clearly warrant further diagnostic evaluation for alcohol dependence

For more information on the PRAT and the DAP please visit www.globaldrugsurvey.com

Who do you compare my drug use to?

We compare your drinking against anonymous data from other people who have also filled in the drinks meter or who completed the alcohol section in the full drugs meter.

We started with 13,000 people who had given anonymous data during the Global Drug Survey 2012, and the pool is now up to 20,000 and increases every time someone completed the drinks meter or full drugs meter. This growing database makes the comparisons more accurate as more people join, giving you the chance to compare yourself to others based on a range of demographic features.

At the moment we can only allow you to compare yourself against everyone from around the world, and by gender and age. However, once we hit 50,000 you will be able to choose your peer group using your own characteristics — gender, country, age, sexuality and musical taste.

What do you do with my information?

Your information always remains anonymous and is pooled in a big secure database that is stored separately to other GDS content. We never ask for your personal details and cannot store any personal data or trackable information? so no one can access your data on drinks meter

We use your data to help inform charities, NGOs and public health bodies who work in the drugs field, and in the future we may also promote geographically relevant contact details for local drug and alcohol services, such as links to sexual health clinics or alcohol services

For further information, see our terms and conditions

For more information on our methodology and evidence base, visit the Global Drug Survey website