One in five Irish drinkers classified as 'hazardous drinkers' in new ground-breaking report 4 years ago

One in five Irish drinkers classified as 'hazardous drinkers' in new ground-breaking report

Irish drinkers under the age of 25 engaged in an average of 28 binge drinking sessions in the last year.

Just over 20% of the Irish drinking population have been classified as ‘hazardous drinkers’ in a new ground-breaking, risk-based configuration of Irish drinkers by DrinkAware.


Launched this week, the DrinkAware Index has identified two key groups within the drinking population that deepens understanding of alcohol consumption in Ireland today.

Just over one in five (21%) drinkers in Ireland were identified as ‘hazardous drinkers’, while a further 23% subset were classified as potential risk. Despite this, the report clearly reveals a culture of complicit acceptance to harmful drinking patterns, with 74% of people surveyed believing that drinking to excess is ‘just a part of Irish culture’.

Using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), the research found that 73% of hazardous drinkers are male, almost half of whom are under the age of 34. According to research, this group displays an awareness of the negative impacts of their current drinking behaviour and an openness to modifying their habits. Conversely, the potential risk subset are less open to changing their behaviour.

Amongst the key findings from the DrinkAware Index, a nationally-representative survey conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes with 1,000 adults aged 18+ years, were the following:

  • 77% of Irish adults drink alcohol, 23% abstain
  • Three in five adults (57%) in Ireland who drink alcohol, drink on a weekly basis
  • One in five Irish drinkers (19%) have six or more standard drinks on a typical drinking occasion; increases to 34% of 18-25-year-olds
  • Under 25s also report engaging in an average of 28 binge drinking sessions* in the past year, the highest of all demographics
  • 46% strongly disagree that they should cut down on their drinking
  • 83% of hazardous drinkers consume alcohol weekly or more often, compared to the national average of 44%

* The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines binge drinking as the consumption of six or more standard drinks – equal to 60 grams of pure alcohol - in one sitting.

Speaking about the research, Sheena Horgan, CEO, DrinkAware said: “The attitudinal findings within the DrinkAware Index confirm what intuitively we all already suspected, that there exists a national cultural complacency around excessive alcohol consumption that is complicit in normalising harmful drinking.

“If underage and the harmful misuse of alcohol in Ireland is to be prevented, then this needs to be re-dressed. In line with our mission, DrinkAware will utilise specific cohorts identified in the report and their motivations to direct information, messaging and tools to encourage positive behavioural change.”


All DrinkAware research can be accessed here.