Following the release of the 2021 Drinkaware Barometer, data reveals that levels of binge drinking in Ireland escalated during the pandemic.
The annual Drinkaware Barometer provides an overview of drinking behaviour across Ireland. It aims to prevent and reduce the misuse of alcohol, and tackle underage drinking.
One of the most concerning findings in this year’s report was the rise in binge drinking. On an average day of drinking in 2021, more than one in five (22%) of those who drink, report consuming six or more standard drinks in a single setting. This is in contrast to 20% in 2020.
The data also showed that men are twice as likely to engage in binge drinking than women, with those aged 18 to 24 most likely to binge drink. In fact, 31% of this age group reported binge drinking in 2021, compared to just 16% at the time of the initial lockdown in 2020.
Worryingly, 49% of Irish drinkers admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days, compared to a figure of 46% in 2020, and 36% in 2019.
There was also some positive news in the Drinkaware Barometer. The new report revealed that 30% of people surveyed wanted to drink less, particular those who currently binge drink regularly. The survey also found that 37% of people have already made small, positive changes to their drinking behaviour, compared to 31% in 2020.
Drinkaware CEO Sheena Horgan said: “What is really striking this year is the important recognition of their unhealthy consumption by those who binge drink and those who say their drinking has increased in the past 12 months, because these are among the key groups saying they want to drink less.”
She added that she believes more “widespread public education and engagement is needed” along with “practical support” if Ireland is to stop these behaviours from continuing after the pandemic.
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