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‘Concerning’ research shows level of alcohol consumption since COVID-19 restrictions

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 19/05/2020 Louise Burne
a close up of a person holding a wine glass © Provided by Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

Drinkaware has said it is ‘concerning’ that Irish people’s alcohol consumption has increased during the COVID-19 lockdown.

New research carried out by Behaviours & Attitudes for Drinkaware found that 25% of people are drinking more since restrictions were introduced in March.

The study, which focused on the 30-day period leading up to April 24, found that 52% of adults are now drinking alcohol on a weekly basis.

Gallery: Ireland in the coronavirus crisis (Photo Services)

The Drinkaware Index 2019 found that 44% of adults said they drank weekly, marking an increase of 8% in one year.

The study also found that people are drinking alcohol more frequently during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Some 14% of adults reported drinking four or more times each week in the 30 days.

a hand holding a glass of wine: 25% of people said that they are drinking more alcohol during the COVID-19 restrictions. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie 25% of people said that they are drinking more alcohol during the COVID-19 restrictions. Pic: Shutterstock

A further 24% said they were consuming alcohol twice or three times a week.

88% of respondents told Drinkaware that they were drinking to ‘help relax and unwind’ during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Almost half of the people surveyed (47%) said that tensions in their household had increased in the past 30 days.

a glass of beer on a table: 88% of people said that they drink alcohol to relax and unwind. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie 88% of people said that they drink alcohol to relax and unwind. Pic: Shutterstock

One in five (19%) also said they had noticed an increase in alcohol consumption among other adults in their household.

However, due to the closure of pubs and nightclubs, 25% of people reported that they were drinking less alcohol due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

31% of people told Drinkaware that they have made positive changes in relation to alcohol consumption in the last month.

a person holding a glass of orange juice: Due to pubs being closed during COVID-19 restrictions, some people have noted their alcohol consumption has dropped.. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie Due to pubs being closed during COVID-19 restrictions, some people have noted their alcohol consumption has dropped.. Pic: Shutterstock

Drinkaware’s CEO, Sheena Horgan, said that the increase in alcohol consumption due to COVID-19 restrictions are ‘concerning’.

She said: ‘This new research shows how the new norm is changing Irish drinking habits and attitudes.

‘The use of alcohol to relax or unwind is not new but it is concerning, and, at 88% almost universal.

  a person riding a skate board: Drinkaware said it is important to find other ways to unwind that don’t involve alcohol. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie Drinkaware said it is important to find other ways to unwind that don’t involve alcohol. Pic: Shutterstock

‘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.

‘That said, there is clearly an appetite for and willingness to change among Irish adults, with almost one-third having already made positive changes to cut down or cut out alcohol over the past month.

‘So, the more troubling evidence that includes more frequent drinking sits alongside positive findings regarding attitude and behaviour change.’

Anyone who may have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, is advised to contact HSE Live via 1850 24 1850 or on the HSE website here

If you are unwell with a cough, especially with respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever) you should isolate yourself immediately and phone your GP

If you have a COVID-19 related travel query, you can call the dedicated advice centre on (01)613 1733.

Follow the government’s latest travel advice here

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