40% of young people admit to binge drinking ‘at least once a week’

AS many as four in 10 young people binge drink at least once a week, a study released yesterday has found.

Harmful alcohol consumption is leaving drinkers at risk of getting into fights or accidents and is potentially damaging their health, adults admitted in the health study.

The study of lifestyles and habits was released at the Royal College of Surgeons yesterday with a warning that Ireland had still not got to grip with its excessive drinking levels.

More than one in four Irish people binge drink at least once a week putting themselves and others at increased risk of harm. But the numbers dangerously drinking is much higher for young people and only slightly less than it was in 2002.

Dr Karen Morgan, the project manager, said: “Alcohol misuse remains high in Ireland, particularly among young men and women.

“Those who drink more than the weekly guideline amount put themselves at increased risk of harm of due to their own drinking and the drinking of others.”

The Department of Health-commissioned research found 28% of adults reported drinking six or more standard drinks on one occasion at least once a week. This jumped to 40% for 18 to 19-year-olds. In addition, one in 10 admitted to drinking in excess of the recommended weekly limit of 14 units of alcohol per week for women and 21 for men.

It was those drinkers who exceeded their weekly recommended limits of alcohol who were most likely to face uncertain dangers, the researchers found.

Those drinkers were twice as likely to get into a fight and almost four times as likely to be in an accident than those drinking within the recommended weekly limit.

The research was part of the SLÁN 2007: National Survey of Lifestyle Attitudes and Nutrition which was conducted among 10,000 adults.

Other research released yesterday showed that 27% of Irish people smoke, with nearly half of unemployed people smoking.

* www.slan07.ie


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