21% of Irish adults classified as hazardous drinkers in new study
23% of adults are at potential risk of becoming hazardous drinkers too.
The 2019 Drinkaware Index report has identified two major risk-based groups amongst people who consume alcohol in Ireland: hazardous drinkers with an increasing risk of dependency (21%) and a larger group that are at a potential risk of becoming hazardous drinkers (23%).
The research also showed that 19% of adults have exceeded binge drinking levels on a typical drinking occasion.
Elsewhere, 74% believe that drinking to excess is "just a part of Irish culture".
64% of people under the age of 25 said that they drink alcohol as a coping mechanism, while over a third of people in this category said they binge drink on a weekly basis.
On average, the current generation of under-25s had their first alcoholic drink at 14.3 years, compared to the national average of 15.5 years.
Over a third (34%) of those under the age of 25 binge drink on a weekly basis (six or more standard drinks in one sitting) and 64% of those that participated in the study said that they drink as a coping mechanism.
The research was carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes, with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults.
Speaking about the findings, Sheena Horgan, CEO of Drinkaware, said: “The Drinkaware Index research highlights that a significant number of Irish adults are drinking at a level that may be putting their health at risk.
"Of particular concern is that these drinking habits appear even more embedded among younger people, with 64% of under-25s stating that they often drink as a coping mechanism.
"The negative impact of alcohol in Irish society is widely known, and both national data and international statistical comparisons are well cited and acknowledged. What however is less comprehensive, is published analysis on the motivational drivers, the behaviours and attitudes of Irish society towards alcohol across different demographics and ages.
"To get to the heart of the problem, we need to examine and reassess some of our deep-rooted cultural norms and wide acceptance that we are simply excessive drinkers by virtue of our national heritage."
You can read the report in full here.