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Home > Irish Alcohol Diaries 2013: New figures reveal 75% of alcohol is consumed as part of binge session.

[Health Research Board] Irish Alcohol Diaries 2013: New figures reveal 75% of alcohol is consumed as part of binge session. (23 Jun 2014)

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New figures published today by the Health Research Board confirm that Irish drinking patterns are harmful and almost one in fourteen drinkers meet criteria for dependent drinking. The figures were captured as part of the first National Alcohol Diary Survey involving almost 6,000 people, aged 18-75 years, across Ireland during 2013.

According to Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board,
“The amount we drink and the way we drink determine alcohol-related harm. We are still consuming alcohol far above the HSE recommended low-risk levels. But what this report really shines a light on is the pattern of harmful drinking which raises serious concerns for public health. Based on the figures in the report, more than 150,000 people are dependent drinkers, more than a 1.35 million are harmful drinkers and 30% of people interviewed say that they experienced some form of harm as a result of their own drinking.”

“The report also reveals we underestimate what we drink by about 60%. If this is the case, the situation is much worse than what has been presented in this report.”

Headline findings
• 75% of all alcohol consumed was done so as part of a binge drinking session.
• One in five (21.1%) drinkers engaged in binge drinking at least once a week.
• Almost two thirds (64.3%) of 18-24 year-olds who participated in the survey consumed six or more standard drinks* on a typical drinking session in the last year, for example three or more pints of beer, six or more pub measures of spirits or more than 600mls of wine (a regular bottle is 750mls).
• More than half (54%) of 18-75 year old drinkers were classified as harmful drinkers which equates to 1.35 million harmful drinkers in Ireland.
• One third (33%) of men and more than one fifth (23%) of women who consumed alcohol in the week prior to the survey consumed more than the HSE low risk drinking guidelines of 16.8 standard drinks for men and 11.2 standard drinks for women.
• One in eight (13%) men and almost one in ten (9%) women drank their recommended weekly guidelines in one sitting in the week prior to the survey. Among 18-24 year-olds, 28% of men and 22% of women consume weekly guidelines in one sitting.
• When figures are applied to the population of drinkers: -
o We spent more than €50.6 million on alcohol in the week prior to the study;
o 3,230 work-or-study years were lost through alcohol related illness in the year prior to the study.
• In the week prior to the survey 43% of standard drinks are consumed at home, 42% in a pub/nightclub and 10% in restaurant or hotel.
• 64% of men and 51% of women started drinking before the legal age of 18.
• Monthly binge drinking most common among 18-24 year old age group (at 60%).
• Harmful drinking is highest among 18-24 year old age group (at 75%).
• Dependent drinking is highest among 18-24 year old age group (at 15%).
• 21% of 18-75 year olds did not consume alcohol in previous 12 months.

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