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Home > Alcohol consumption in Ireland 2013: analysis of a national alcohol diary survey.

Long, Jean and Mongan, Deirdre (2014) Alcohol consumption in Ireland 2013: analysis of a national alcohol diary survey. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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The main objective of the National Alcohol Diary Survey was to estimate personal consumption of, and expenditure on, alcohol among the general population aged 18–75 years living in private households in Ireland. The survey included a comprehensive series of questions on both the rates and patterns of alcohol consumption in Ireland and on alcohol-related harm, and it involved interviewing 5,991 respondents in 3,897 households.

The respondents were randomly selected using a two-stage probability sampling procedure. The survey was completed between July and October 2013, and achieved a household response rate of 67.2% and a within-household response rate of 77.1%. The survey population was weighted by age, gender and regional distribution, to ensure that the survey population mirrored the Central Statistics Office’s population estimates for 2013.

General alcohol consumption patterns – key findings:
• The rate of abstinence, defined as consuming no alcohol in the previous 12 months, was 20.6% (95% confidence interval, CI, 19.2%–22.1%) among 18–75-year-olds.
• Almost two-thirds (63.9%) of males and half (51.4%) of females started drinking alcohol before the age of 18 years.
• 77% (4,647) of respondents consumed alcohol in the 12 months prior to the survey and 69% (3,187) of drinkers consumed alcohol in the week prior to the survey.
• Just over one-quarter (26.1%) of drinkers reported consuming one to two standard drinks per drinking occasion, which is less than the 30% of drinkers in the 2007 SLÁN survey. One to two standard drinks amounts to 10–20g of pure alcohol (and equates with one-half or one pint of beer, one to two pub measures of spirits, or 100 to 200ml of wine) and is within the HSE’s recommended low-risk daily alcohol consumption limits.
• Almost one-quarter (24.1%) of drinkers aged 18–24 years consumed alcohol at least twice weekly and 64.3% consumed six or more standard drinks (which equates with 60g of alcohol or more, for example, three or more pints of beer, six or more pub measures of spirits, or 600ml or more of wine) on a typical drinking occasion. This equates with the criteria for risky single-occasion drinking or binge drinking.
• The vast majority, two-in-three (66.8%) drinkers and four-in-five (80.3%) male drinkers, consumed six or more standard drinks on the occasion that they consumed the highest number of standard drinks in the last year.


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