We present here some findings from a survey carried out in one (former) London borough, of the information known to one or more of a number of agencies such as courts, clergy, employers, doctors, etc. (we term these sources ‘reporting agencies', see Methodology Section 4), concerning those individuals who might have a drinking problem. The results will be interpreted in the light of a house-to-house sample survey which was conducted at the same time, and in part of that same area (Edwards et al., 1972a, b, c, d, 1973): the extent of overlap in case identification will be closely considered. The literature on epidemiology applied to alcoholism has been reviewed by one of us elsewhere (Edwards, 1973), and the relevance of epidemiology to planning the community's response to its drinking problems was discussed. In the present paper the application of those general arguments to the realities of a particular set of data will be tentatively explored.