Rate of binge drinking amongst Irish 18-24 year olds nearly doubles in a year 7 months ago

Rate of binge drinking amongst Irish 18-24 year olds nearly doubles in a year

There was also a rise in people frequently drinking for coping reasons.

The number of people aged 18-24 binge drinking on a typical day of drinking nearly doubled over a year, according to Drinkaware.

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The national charity, which works to prevent and reduce the misuse of alcohol, has published a new report exploring for the first time the impact of Covid-19 on Irish adults' attitudes to alcohol in the year after the virus reached Ireland.

The research was carried out with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults.

"Low mental wellbeing, drinking to cope, and increases in the number of people weekly and binge drinking dominate the report, although sustained and growing positive trends re change in drinking behaviours are also identified," Drinkaware said in a statement.

Key findings from the report are as follows:

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  • 55% of adults reported drinking on a weekly basis in 2021 versus 52% in 2020 (44% in 2019)
  • 49% indicated binge drinking in the past 30 days versus 46% in 2020 (36% in 2019)
  • 61% indicated frequently drinking for coping reasons (60% in 2020, 50% in 2019)
  • A positive rise in those reporting they would like to drink alcohol less often: 30% in 2021 versus 24% in 2020
  • A positive rise in those who said they had already made small positive changes: 37% in 2021 versus 31% in 2020.

The report’s findings also suggest that specific population groups have experienced negative changes regarding alcohol since Covid.

Families with pre-school children were most likely to report increased alcohol consumption across the household type/lifestage category in the past 12 months, with 28% doing so.

This involved either the amount of alcohol consumed or the frequency of drinking.

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Meanwhile, the number of men reporting binge drinking on a typical day of drinking rose from 27% in 2020 to 31% in 2021.

18-to-24-year-olds also reporting binge drinking on a typical day of drinking increased to 31% in 2021 from 16% at the time of the initial lockdown phase in 2020.

However, of those who decreased their alcohol consumption, the 18-24 age cohort were the most likely across all age groups to report both a drop in the amount at 41% or frequency at 45%.

"This first-of-its-kind research, reveals which behaviours, formed/changed in the initial lockdown in 2020, have transformed into established patterns of new rituals around alcohol," Drinkaware said.

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"Identifying which behaviours have become embedded, amongst which groups, and why, a year on from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, is critical if the emerging negative activities are to be addressed and the positives encouraged and scaled."

You can read the report in full on Drinkaware's website here.