Drinkaware Index research finds only 13% of people in Ireland record how much they drink in a bid to cut down

Drinkaware Index research finds only 13% of people in Ireland record how much they drink in a bid to cut down

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Drinkaware, the national not-for-profit organisation working to reduce alcohol misuse, is today calling for greater understanding of what a standard drink is. This comes as the Drinkaware Index research found that just 13% of people in Ireland record how much they are drinking when making a proactive effort to reduce their alcohol intake.

The Drinkaware Index also revealed that almost three-quarters (72%) of all drinking occasions in Ireland now take place at home, a more relaxed and uncontrolled setting where it is more likely a person will free-pour spirits and wine and hence, consume more alcohol.

Drinkaware CEO, Sheena Horgan said: “The Drinkaware Index highlights a critically low awareness of what constitutes a standard drink and the low-risk guidelines. And yet, there is clearly an appetite for change and more mindful drinking. Almost 100,000 people have used our online Drinks Calculator so far this year (a 250% increase on 2018), and we have distributed over 10,000 measure cups. But there is also wealth of misinformation out there about standard drinks, making it difficult for people to understand their drinking habits.

“More often than not, we see people refer to units when they actually mean standard drinks. Considering the low numbers of people who keep track of what they drink, this is perhaps unsurprising but as an evidence-based organisation, we have a responsibility to reduce this confusion. With drink driving arrests steadily increasing this year, knowing the correct information about standard drinks has never been more important.

“As a practical and proactive solution, Drinkaware is offering free standard drink measure cups to households nationwide, available to order at drinkaware.ie.”

Order a free standard drink measure cup

What is a standard drink?

  • A standard drink is a measure of alcohol.
  • In Ireland, one standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol. It takes one hour on average to process one standard drink although this will be affected by a wide range of factors.
  • The number of standard drinks is based on the size of the drink and its alcohol strength, usually shown on labels as alcohol by volume (%ABV).
  • Common examples include a half pint of 4.5% lager, 100ml glass of 12.5% wine and pub measure of 40% spirits.

Is a standard drink the same as a unit?

  • No. This is a common source of confusion, particularly on labelling, but they are not the same.
  • One UK unit contains 8 grams of pure alcohol, compared to 10 grams in one Irish standard drink.

Read more about standard drinks

The HSE weekly low-risk guidelines in Ireland are:

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Read more about the low-risk guidelines

In conclusion, Sheena added: “Alcohol guidelines are typically set by the Department of Health in each country, so we would urge everyone to try to keep this in mind if they see unit content displayed on a can or bottle label which may be UK unit values and the result will inevitably be an underestimation. We recommend that consumers always follow the guidance for Ireland.”