The results from the latest Behaviour and Attitudes research on behalf of Drinkaware identifies a need for more support and information in relation to alcohol and health. These results are in line with the recent Central Statistics Office (CSO) data, which show that Irish people aged 18-24 have the highest rate of binge drinking in the European Union.
Ahead of the October Bank Holiday weekend, Drinkaware is calling on people to carefully monitor their alcohol consumption and have suggested some simple changes people can make if they are drinking alcohol, especially at home:
Alternate each drink with a glass of water to reduce the dehydration associated with alcohol
Always use a standard drink measure: never free-pour spirits or wine. Order a free Standard Drink Measure Cup at www.drinkaware.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.
31% of Irish people want to drink alcohol less often. To help people achieve this Drinkaware is asking people to track their intake so they can better understand their habits and the effects of their alcohol consumption, particularly over the upcoming long weekend. The Drinkaware Standard Drink Measure Cup will make it easier to pour accurate measures and keep track of how much you are drinking, especially at home. These measure cups can be ordered at www.drinkaware.ie, free of charge.
Speaking about the recent findings, Drinkaware Chief Medical Officer, Dr Liam Twomey said, "Our recent research revealed trends which are worrying, but not surprising. The findings highlighted that the more people know about the impact excessive drinking can have on short and long-term health and wellbeing, the more likely they are to proactively make positive changes to their drinking habits. The time to remove the barriers to people understanding the effects their drinking may be having on their health is now. Cancer, high blood pressure, mental health issues just to name a few - we have no time to lose.
"Bank holiday weekends are a prime time for alcohol misuse and for binge drinking episodes. Even when people aren’t ‘drinking to get drunk’, the reality is, if you’re drinking alcohol at home it is much harder to keep track of how much you drink and this can often lead to people exceeding the low-risk guidelines in a short space of time. One of the most common questions we are asked about controlling home-drinking is around wine, where there are a range of different factors at play which makes it difficult to understand your true alcohol intake – the size of the glass, alcohol content, the setting. Using a measure cup can make a bigger difference than many people realise. Even drinking moderately over a long period of time can amount to excessive drinking when calculated over the whole weekend. We call on all Irish people not to waste their weekend and to think about how much alcohol they will consume this bank holiday."
Niamh Gallagher CEO of Drinkaware said, "We are encouraging people to follow the HSE low-risk guidelines which recommend at least two alcohol-free days per week. From the results of our survey, it is clear that there is still some more education needed around identifying and understanding the guidelines.
"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 experience health benefits as a result. Irish adults consistently cite Drinkaware as the most trusted source of alcohol information and as such and through our work, we want to help people to understand the risks in as clear a way as possible, so they can keep health problems associated with alcohol to minimum."