In Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy, the OECD points out that although rates of ‘Heavy Episodic Drinking’ or binge-drinking (consisting of six or more drinks) were highest for both men and women in Ireland and England, there have been “noticeable drops” in these rates in its latest survey.
“Most countries show relatively stable trends of hazardous drinking between 1991 and 2011, although rates declined in Ireland and Germany, where they were high in the 1990s.”
However it also reports, “In Ireland and Germany, hazardous drinking rates have remained stable in young men and women while they declined in other age groups”.
Nevertheless, among the eight countries examined in its HED analysis, HED has declined in young people only in England and Ireland.
In taking the data over 20 years from 1992 to 2012, the report finds that over the last five years from 2009 to 2014 large and steady decreases were seen in countries where consumption was originally relatively high such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
However it adds, “In originally lower-consumption countries, data show a continuous increase, followed in some cases by a downturn in recent years (eg Finland, Ireland and the United Kingdom)”.
With a per capital consumption rate of 11 litres, the OECD report places Ireland in fourth position, well above the 34-country OECD average of 9.1 litres and only below Estonia, Austria and France.