Findings of alcohol survey 'stark'

Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 01:00

A third of 18-24-year old drinkers consume the equivalent of 1 ¼ bottles of wine on a typical night out, a new report has revealed.

Minister of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall described the figures relating to young people as “stark”, but said there were indications bad behaviour associated with “blatant public drunkenness” could no longer be tolerated by vast majority of people.

The cross-border survey, Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Related Harm in Ireland, is jointly undertaken by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NCAD) and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland’s public health information and research branch.

Ms Shortall said almost three quarters of 18-24-year-old regarded having at least five standard drinks as “the norm” while a third had nine standard drinks “per session”. Nine standard drinks equates to 4 ½ pints of beer or 1 ¼ bottles of wine.

“Instances involving excessive consumption of alcohol over the summer period, leading to anti-social behaviour and violence at large public events, are among the latest overt illustrations of the problem,” Ms Shortall said.

“The subsequent public reaction to such events may indicate that such blatant public drunkenness and negative behaviour can no longer be tolerated by the vast majority of our people.”

Ms Shortall said a memo would go to Government shortly providing for a public health alcohol bill. She confirmed the proposed 2016 deadline to phase out alcohol sponsorship of sporting and cultural events would be relaxed, adding that a number of sporting organisations were in significant debt.

She was very keen to agree a new deadline and the matter was under discussion with other Ministers.

Asked about Diageo’s annual “Arthur’s Day” celebration, Ms Shortall said the concept of “craic” was very often associated with drinking very large amounts of alcohol.

“We need a much more mature approach to life,” she said.

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