48% of Irish drinkers are consuming alcohol at a level that is putting their health at increasing or high risk, new research shows.
The study of the nation’s attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol found that 24% of people consider it likely that they will have increased health problems in the future if they continue to drink at their current level.
21% of drinkers think they should cut down on how much alcohol they drink, but 16% have made already small changes to their consumption.
The Drinkaware Index, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes, was carried out using the World Health Organisation’s AUDIT-C screening tool and was launched during the sixth EU Awareness Week on Alcohol-Related Harm.
It shows that 44% of people who drink consume alcohol on at least a weekly basis, while 19% consumed more than six standard drinks each week in the last year.
Just 2% of people could correctly identify the low-risk alcohol guidelines
23% of Irish adults do not drink alcohol, according to the study.
Almost three-quarters of people (74%) believe that drinking to excess is ‘just a part of Irish culture’.
Speaking about the research findings, Sheena Horgan, CEO of Drinkaware, said: “The Drinkaware Index is a landmark study that provides a critical up-to-date picture of Ireland’s drinking habits.
"Our data on the national levels of consumption corroborates other research like the Healthy Ireland Survey, but using the World Health Organisation’s AUDIT-C screening tool in this research allowed us to dig deeper to the real root of the issue regarding which segments of the population are at risk and the hard truth is that almost half of Irish adults who drink alcohol, are drinking at a level that could be dangerous to their health and wellbeing and what’s more, they know it.
The Drinkaware Index is a nationally-representative survey, which uses seven standardised models to provide an overview of Irish adults’ behaviour, attitudes and motivations towards drinking alcohol.
The HSE low-risk alcohol guidelines are 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women and 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) for men.
The Drinkaware Drinks Calculator can be accessed here.