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We spent €50 million a week on alcohol in 2013 - and 75% of that was binge drinking

Alcohol Action Ireland says that “we can no longer afford to accept our harmful relationship with alcohol as the norm”.

We can no longer afford to accept our harmful relationship with alcohol as the norm.

IRELAND SPENT €50 million a week, lost 3,230 work and study days in a year and binged most of the time last year.

The latest figures from the Health Research Board also show that 15% of 18-24 are classed as alcohol dependent.

File Photo PUBS, CLUBS AND off licenses will be closed for the entire day today. Despite the reduced access to alcoholic beverages, many people turn Good Friday into a reason to party. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The report also found that:

  • 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 consumed six or more standard drinks on a typical drinking session in the last year
  • 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 in eight (13%) men and almost one in ten (9%) women drank their recommended weekly guidelines in one sitting
  • Among 18-24 year-olds, 28% of men and 22% of women consume weekly guidelines in one sitting
  • We spent more than €50.6 million was spent on alcohol in the week prior to the study
  • 3,230 work-or-study years were lost through alcohol related illness in the year prior to the study
  • 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%).

The report added that of the 6,000 people surveyed, 21% had not drank in the last year.

Young People Drinking Alcohol Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

The authors of the report say that the figures underline the “harmful nature of drinking in Ireland.

“This is the first time we have had such robust, detailed evidence on Irish people’s drinking habits. What is clear is we need to alter people’s perceptions of their drinking. The report shows people who defined themselves as ‘light or moderate drinkers’ actually drank six or more standard drinks in a typical drinking occasion, which is binge drinking’, says Dr Jean Long, Head of the Evidence Centre at the Health Research Board and co-author of the report.

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Alcohol Action Ireland, an alcohol awareness charity said that the normalisation of binge drinking was a problem.

“[The survey] shows is the extent to which this situation – and the huge harms that our society suffers as a result – has become normalised,” said Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland.

“One in five people who defined themselves as ‘light drinkers who do not binge drink’ and half of those who defined themselves ‘moderate drinkers who do not binge drink’ were actually binge drinking on a typical drinking occasion.”

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