Warning for Irish people as 'troubling' study finds huge rise in alcohol consumption
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Warning for Irish people as 'troubling' study finds huge rise in alcohol consumption

A study into the drinking habits of Irish adults has shown a 'troubling' rise in alcohol consumption since the lockdown came into effect.

Drinkaware, Ireland's national charity working to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse in Ireland, have released a new report which shows that a quarter of Irish people are drinking more since lockdown was introduced and that 14% of people are drinking at leas four times per week.

The study, the first of its kind in researching drinking behaviours under lockdown, focused on a 30-day period up to 24 April 2020.

It found that over half (52%) of people are drinking at least once a week, up from 44% of adults surveyed last year.

As well as the 14% of people surveyed admitting they were consuming alcohol at last four times a week, a further 24% said they were drinking between two and three times a week.

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Drinkaware says the findings 'tells a story of two halves of how Ireland’s adult population has spent the past month at home during lockdown', as, while a quarter have people say they are drinking more, a further quarter say they are drinking less.

An overwhelming amount of people (88%) said that their reason for drinking during lockdown was to 'relax and unwind', and almost half (47%) said that tensions in their household had increased since lockdown measures were introduced.

One in five people admitted they had noticed an increase in consumption of alcohol among other adults in their household.

Sheena Horgan, Drinkaware CEO, says the results of the study illustrated "how the new norm is changing Irish drinking habits and attitudes".

"As we enter the first phase of easing restrictions, we need to renew our efforts to explore alternative and healthier coping strategies that don’t involve consistent and potentially harmful drinking".

Referencing that a quarter of people had reduced their alcohol consumption, and that there were 90,000 visits to the Drinkaware website in April alone, Ms Horgan continued: "The more troubling evidence that includes more frequent drinking (4+ times every week), sits alongside positive findings regarding attitude and behaviour change."

SHe concluded that the research will allow the charity to "plan ahead as we enter a new phase, which is vitally important for public health.”

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