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08th Nov 2023

New study shows Ireland amongst biggest binge-drinkers in the world

Simon Kelly

Ireland binge-drinking

Average consumption of alcohol in the country dropped, however.

A new study on alcohol consumption has revealed that Irish people are amongst the biggest binge drinkers in the world.

In a study released by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), alcohol consumption was compared across 33 countries.

The study was split between male and female binge drinkers (defined as having at least six drinks in a single session), but also totted up an average of combined sexes. Ireland placed eight on the list combining men and women. The UK placed third, but placed first for women.

Denmark and Romania topped the list on their mixed-sex averages, with Romania having by far the heaviest male drinkers.

Ireland’s alcohol consumption was higher than the OECD average; at 9.5 litres per capita versus 8.6. However, the study also stated that average consumption in Ireland fell between 2011 and 2021 by more than 2 litres, the largest reduction of OECD countries alongside Lithuania.

The OECD said that people shouldn’t regularly drink over 14 units of alcohol in a week, equating to approximately six beers or glasses of wine, adding that “an average of 2.4% of health expenditure is spent on dealing with the harm caused by alcohol consumption, and the figure reaches as high as 4% in some countries.”

Ireland sees mixed results of key health indicators

In a more in depth look at Ireland’s health factors across the world, the country performed worse than average on heavy drinking prevalence and opioid mortality rates. Smoking was at 16%, which is in line with the OECD average.

Ireland performed better than the average on indicators such as life expectancy, which was 82.4 years, 2.1 years above the OECD average.

It was also revealed that there are 4.0 practising doctors per 1,000 population (higher than the OECD average of 3.7); and 12.7 practising nurses (OECD average 9.2). The country, however, has 2.9 hospital beds per 1,000 of the population, which is less than the OECD average of 4.3.

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