Public involvement & engagement

Drink Less app: reducing alcohol use

Reducing the amount of alcohol we drink may help to prevent short and long term alcohol related problems such as accidents and injuries, heart disease, stroke and various types of cancer.

The Drink Less app, a digital health intervention developed through the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR), provides evidence-informed techniques to help cut down on alcohol and is used by people to change their behaviour and as a preventative tool.

The app features a drinking diary in which different types of alcohol can be recorded. It also includes a dashboard to show users how their drinking habits have changed over time, and techniques to help them to reduce their alcohol consumption including goal setting, feedback, and action planning.

The app can be downloaded free from the Apple App Store.

Optimising the App through collaborative research

The NIHR SPHR project 'Optimising the alcohol reduction app, Drink Less' was a collaboration between researchers from Fuse, University College London, University of Bristol, LiLaC (Liverpool & Lancaster Universities Collaboration) and colleagues at Public Health England.

The project enabled researchers to use a collaborative evidence-based approach to optimising the Drink Less app which led to the successful release of the digital health intervention.

Real world impact

Drink Less attracted an average of over 300 downloads per week between May 2016 (when it was first launched) and January 2021, from the Apple App Store. The app has had over 60,000 unique users in the UK and has an app store rating of 4.3 (as of January 2021).

The project is an example of research that has had ongoing impact, both in relation to policy and direct service user impact in the use of digital health interventions.

Public engagement

Researchers are engaging with the public by using feedback from app users to ensure its ongoing improvement and usability. App users frequently praise the usefulness of the app for understanding and limiting the consumption of alcohol. Drink Less now consistently appears in the top results for 'alcohol' searches in the App App Store.

National policy impact

As a result of the research, the Drink Less app was used as a case study for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Evidence Standards Framework for Digital Health Technologies to demonstrate how the framework could be used in practice. It is being evaluated in a NIHR-funded randomised controlled trial.

SPHR website:

Optimising the alcohol reduction smartphone app: Drink Less

Linked SPHR themes/programmes:

Alcohol programme

Last modified: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 12:50:06 GMT