Northern Ireland Reports Adult Drinking Patterns

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A research report providing results from a survey of adult drinking in Northern Ireland has been published today.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, examines the amount people drink, when, where and what they drink and who they drink with.

It also examines how drinking behaviours vary across different sections of the public, the proportion of people who binge drink, problem drinking, and perceptions of drinking.

Key Findings

The key findings relating to the Adult Drinking Patterns Survey in Northern Ireland 2008 are:

* More than seven in ten (72%) adults drink alcohol.

* A larger proportion of males (74%) than females (70%) drink alcohol.

* Most drinking occurs over the weekend and peaks on Saturdays.

* The most common drink consumed is wine (50%), closely followed by beer (48%).

* Most of those who drank in the week prior to the survey had consumed alcohol at home (64%), and nearly one quarter (24%) had consumed alcohol in a pub.

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* More than four in five (81%) respondents had exceeded the recommended daily limits during the week prior to the survey.

* Approximately four in five males (79%) and females (83%) exceed their recommended daily limits during the week prior to the survey.

* Nearly one quarter (24%) of respondents drank above the weekly sensible levels.

* Over one quarter (26%) of male respondents and over one fifth (22%) of female respondents drank above the weekly sensible levels in the week prior to the survey.

* Nearly a third (32%) of those who drank in the week before the survey had engaged in at least one binge drinking session.

* Males (35%) were more likely than females (29%) to binge drink.

* Over half (54%) of drinkers aged 18-29 years engaged in at least one binge drinking session in the week prior to the survey, and they are more likely to binge drink than respondents in the older groups.

* One in 10 respondents (10%) of those who drank in the week prior to the survey are highly likely to have a problem with alcohol, according to the CAGE analysis.

* Over half (56%) of those who consumed alcohol in the week prior to the survey considered themselves to be light drinkers, two in five (40%) considered themselves to be moderate drinkers and 4% considered themselves to be heavy drinkers.

Comparisons between 2005 and 2008 are:

* The proportion of adults who drank above the weekly sensible levels in the week prior to the survey significantly decreased from 29% in 2005 to 24% in 2008.

* The proportion of adults who engaged in at least one binge drinking session in the week prior to the survey significantly decreased from 38% in 2005 to 32% in 2008.

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