The number of people in the UK that are drinking alcohol irresponsibly has fallen, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The General Household survey said yesterday (22 January) that, between 2000 and 2006, the number of men that drank over 21 units a week has reduced by 6% and the number of women who consumed over 14 units per week has decreased by 5%.

Binge drinking among 16-24 year-old men has also continued to decline in the last year, with levels among young women in the UK stabilising, the statistics revealed.

The survey also demonstrated that awareness of alcohol units has risen from 79% of the population to 85% in the last ten years.

Commenting on the survey, the Portman Group's chief executive, David Poley, said: "It is pleasing that the long-term trends in the nation's harmful drinking levels continue to improve. More people are now aware of the risks associated with harmful drinking and have changed their drinking accordingly. There is still a long way to go to eradicate the problems caused by alcohol misuse which remain deeply embedded in our culture. But the evidence suggests that the sensible drinking message is getting through to people."

Poley added: "Awareness of alcohol units continues to rise because of drinks producers' commitment to promoting responsible drinking. All Portman Group member companies are unit labelling their drinks. They included responsible drinking messages on 3bn drinks containers and on GBP150m (US$) worth of advertising in the last year alone. This, combined with their financial backing for the Drinkaware Trust's sensible drinking campaigning, is making a difference to our drinking culture."