The typical Irish person: Gets drunk 20 times a year. Quickly regrets it

Global Drug Survey finds that Australians get drunk the most often, Mexicans the least

Global Drug Survey: people in Ireland reported getting drunk about 20 times a year. Photograph: Tony Cenicola/New York Times

Global Drug Survey: people in Ireland reported getting drunk about 20 times a year. Photograph: Tony Cenicola/New York Times


Irish people typically get drunk 20 times a year, putting Ireland in seventh place globally – and then regret their drinking more than any other nation, according to a new report.

On average, the Global Drug Survey 2021 has found, people around the world drink enough alcohol to affect their balance, focus, speech, conversation and general behaviour 14.6 times a year. Australians get drunk most often, at 26.7 times a year, followed by Danes and Finns. (Mexicans report getting drunk the least often, at an average of 8.9 times in the past 12 months.)

But whereas Danes and Finns regret getting drunk the least among respondents to the survey – feeling regret only 17 per cent of the time – the Irish say they regret getting drunk 28.4 per cent of the time. Irish women wish they hadn’t got drunk more often than Irish men do, expressing regret 36.7 per cent of the time versus 25.2 per cent for men. Globally, people regret getting drunk 21.3 per cent of the time.

“Drinking too much too quickly, mixing your drinks and drinking with people who drink a lot were the top three reasons people said they regretted getting drunk,” the report’s authors say.

The findings on Irish drinking habits follow a study of admissions for liver disease at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin earlier this year that showed a 30 per cent increase in the 18 months since the first lockdown.

Global Drug Survey, an independent research organisation, cautions that its study – which it says is the world’s largest drug survey – is not representative of the wider population, as participants tend to be young and to have used illicit drugs, but it says its findings can nevertheless be used to describe usage patterns and identify new trends.

This year’s report collected anonymous data on drug use from 32,022 people in 22 countries, including 898 respondents in Ireland, between December 2020 and March 2021, using an encrypted online platform.

To date more than 900,000 people have taken part in Global Drug Survey research. The organisation’s 2022 survey is now under way, with responses accepted until the middle of January 2022.

If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking, help is available via