Sir, – As the national charity working to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse in Ireland, Drinkaware welcomes the recently announced figures showing a decline in alcohol consumption of 9.6 per cent between 2019 and 2021. However, Drinkaware cautions that alcohol data is complex and must be viewed in context rather than from a single perspective which oversimplifies the issue.
Figures showing a decrease in alcohol consumption and increase in no alcohol and no-alcohol alternatives are indeed positive and chart a new relationship with alcohol for people in Ireland. We are turning a corner with regards to our alcohol consumption in Ireland but there is still plenty of work to be done.
Recent figures released revealing decreases in alcohol consumption and a reduction in beer consumption specifically only tell one side of the story.
Recent research published by Drinkaware revealed not only has weekly consumption of alcohol increased for many, but that low mental wellbeing persisted throughout the pandemic and drinking alcohol to cope is on the rise from pre-pandemic levels.
Consumption data, while relevant, fails to provide the details of population groups that may be at higher risk of harmful drinking.
While we can look at production and consumption figures as an indication of a reduction in alcohol consumption in Ireland it should not be relied upon alone.
A combination of data that explores the lived experiences of Irish adults’ behaviours and attitudes toward alcohol is necessary in order to enable and empower positive behaviour change and create the sustainable change Drinkaware seeks with regards to risky drinking in Ireland. – Yours, etc,