52% of people in Leinster have taken positive steps to reduce their alcohol intake.
Research commissioned by Drinkaware this year has revealed that while some Irish people understand the health risks and want to drink less as a result, half of people in Leinster think their excessive drinking is ‘no big deal’ and cite ‘Irish culture’ as the main reason for poor drinking behaviour.
These findings are in line with the latest Healthy Ireland Survey, which highlighted that 37% of drinkers in Ireland binge drink on a typical occasion. Drinking in this way can increase the likelihood of people engaging in risky behaviours such as antisocial behaviour, drink driving and self-harm.
Ahead of the June Bank Holiday weekend, Drinkaware is encouraging people to be mindful of their alcohol intake this weekend, and have some simple changes people can make if they are drinking alcohol, especially at home:
· Alternate each drink with water to reduce the dehydration associated with alcohol and warmer temperatures
· Always use a measure: never free-pour spirits. Order a free Standard Drink Measure Cup at drinkware.ie
· Never top up your wine glass – always finish one glass before refilling
· Downsize your drink by choosing lower alcohol beer and wine
· Avoid rounds – you may end up drinking more than you intended
Speaking about the campaign, Drinkaware Chief Medical Officer, Dr Liam Twomey said:
“While I am encouraged to see that half of people surveyed have already taken positive steps to change their drinking habits and that 29% of people in Leinster would like to drink alcohol less often, the Drinkaware research revealed trends which are worrying, but not surprising. Bank holiday weekends are a prime time for alcohol misuse and for binge drinking episodes. Even when people aren’t ‘drinking to get drunk’, we see evidence of all-day drinking at parties, BBQs or family gatherings. Even drinking moderately over a long period of time can amount to excessive drinking when calculated over the whole weekend.
“I see it in my own general practice, people are often not aware of how much they are drinking, regardless of the setting, but this is particularly the case if alcohol is consumed at home. Simple tools like our Standard Drink Measure Cup or online Drinks Calculator make it easier for people to understand their drinking habits and provides an accessible way to proactively manage their own drinking.”
“There are simple tools available on our website, drinkaware.ie, which provide people with important feedback on their habits as well as practical ways to reduce their intake. I would encourage everyone to use these tools to monitor and track their alcohol use, in the same way as they might monitor calories and exercise.”
1,000 Irish adults aged 18 and over were interviewed as part of the research, which revealed poor attitudes towards excessive drinking and risky behaviour around alcohol especially in Leinster where:
· 1 in 2 people believe drinking to excess is ‘no big deal’
· 72% say drinking to excess is just a part of Irish culture
· 28% believe drink driving is ‘less of an issue’ in recent years
Niamh Gallagher, CEO of Drinkaware, said:
“Drinkaware works to educate people with the facts about alcohol and we want to support people to make practical, positive changes to their drinking habits and to see health benefits as a result. We want people to understand the risks so they can keep health problems associated with alcohol to minimum.”
“Drinkaware encourages everyone to access the tools available on our website drinkaware.ie, which are widely used and supported by frontline healthcare and education professionals to make people aware of the risks they face through frequent binge drinking.”
How much and how often you drink can affect how alcohol impacts on your health and wellbeing, both now and in the future. Educate yourself so you can make an informed choice around alcohol. Visit drinkaware.ie to find out further information.
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