Report shows the extent of binge drinking among young Irish people

Report shows the extent of binge drinking among young Irish people

More than half of young people who consume alcohol binge drink every week, compared to less than 20% of the overall drinking population.

Young people who drink, particularly young men, are consistently drinking to a harmful level, Drinkaware has warned.

On average, Irish men who drink, binge drink almost twice a month – 22 times in a year, compared to women who do so 10 times a year.

The 2019 Drinkaware Index report shows that men also worry more than women about their drinking habits.

According to the report, 29% of men believe their drinking may cause future health problems compared to 19% of women drinkers.

During Men's Health Week, Drinkaware will be highlighting their new campaign – Change the Trend, to improve the health and well being of young Irish men.

The campaign will encourage men to reduce binge drinking and follow the HSE's weekly low-risk guideline – 17 standard drinks spread over a week and at least two alcohol-free days.

It also wants to raise awareness of the guidelines and what a standard drink is.

A standard drink is equivalent to a half-pint of beer or a small glass of wine, and binge drinking is defined as consuming six or more standard drinks on a single occasion.

Over half (52%) of under 34-year-olds feel they may experience health problems in the future if they continue to drink at current levels, compared to a quarter (24%) of the overall drinking population.

Drinkaware describes itself as an independent, national not-for-profit organisation with a vision of an Ireland where alcohol is not misused.

Chief executive of Drinkaware, Sheena Hogan, believes the time is ripe for a positive change in people's drinking behaviour.

“We can clearly see that the appetite for more mindful drinking in Ireland is growing,” she said.

Ms Hogan said non-alcoholic drinks and pubs were becoming a “new norm” reflecting an evolving Ireland and a sober curious public.

“One-in-five Irish adult men and almost 37% of under-34s abstain from alcohol entirely,” she pointed out, and more men were visiting Drinkaware's website – drinkaware.ie.

Report shows the extent of binge drinking among young Irish people

Meanwhile, Alcohol Action Ireland has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to announce a date for the introduction of minimum unit pricing and labelling information for all alcohol products.

The Public Health Alcohol Act was enacted almost nine months ago and the charity that is working to reduce alcohol harm said this further delay, after years of debate, was deeply disappointing.

It wants Minister Harris to clarify the commencement date for the measures as soon as possible but certainly before the Oireachtas summer recess.

The charity referred to a BBC Panorama programme which criticised the British government for not committing itself to establish statutory regulations on health information on alcohol products.

During the programme, liver expert, Professor Nick Sheron, said a minimum unit price regime for alcohol products was “the most effective way” to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Prof. Sheron from the University of Southampton, also claimed that the British government spent more time listening to the alcohol industry than listening to doctors.

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