Binge Drinking in Ireland

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Binge Drinking in Ireland
Until several years ago it was commonly accepted that a drinking binge was a period of drunkenness lasting two days or more during which time a person neglects his or her duties and responsibilities to become intoxicated. The World Health Organisation defines binge drinking as drinking six or more units of alcohol in one drinking occasion.[1] Some researchers however, have argued against this definition claiming that this level of consumption could occur over the course of an evening of eating and socialising and that it would be inappropriate to equate this with a “binge”. Whatever the definition new research suggests that drinking to get drunk repeatedly subjects the brain to the effects of withdrawal and this damages brain cells even more than drinking continuously.[2] The problem lies within the fabric of Irish society. It seems to me that after every major occasion in someones life irish people tend to flock to the nearest watering hole and drink until closing time and often long after, never considering this to be binge drinking. A European Citizens Action Service study found that drinking occasions in Ireland involve binge drinking more often than in any of the European Citizens Action Service countries.[3] People who go for social drinks after work or indeed those who go to the pub to watch sporting events often binge drink on these occasions. Over the last few years as the recession casts its shadow over Ireland drinking cultures have changed for the worst. People nowadays can’t afford to go to the pub as much as they used to and with the government dropping the drink driving limit, Ireland’s drinking has moved from out to in with a vast increase in house parties and what has become known as “pre-drinking”. Pre-drinking is most popular among students. Students for the most part can’t afford to pay five euro a pint in most bars in Ireland, so they exploit the availability of cheap drink in the supermarkets and off-licences....
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