Binge drinking report: more than half exceed safe limits

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The problem of secret boozing in the Dungannon District has been laid bare in a new government health survey, which reveals that more than half of local respondents admit to drinking excessively, with more than one in five describing themselves as ‘binge drinkers’.

The latest official report into local drinking habits has provided a fascinating snapshot, which reveals an increase in the number of people drinking alcohol but a steep drop in those confessing to binge drinking.

The results show that more than half of respondents in the Southern Health Trust area, which includes the Dungannon District, say they exceed the recommended daily alcohol limit – with one in six men admitting they do so at least three times a week.

It found that 53 percent of local respondents admitted they drink more than they should, according to official guidelines. However, the figure is the lowest of all six health trust areas, with Belfast the highest at 69%.

Whereas the number of local respondents consuming alcohol has increased by 3% from 68% to 71%, the number of people confessing to binge drinking has dropped significantly from 33% in 2011 to 23% last year.

Furthermore, the Southern area has the highest amount of respondents who abstain from alcohol at 29%.

The recommended daily limit for men is 3 to 4 units – equivalent to a pint-and-a-half of beer.

Women should not drink more than 2 to 3 units – the same as a 175ml glass of wine. Some 13% of men – nearly one in six – and 6% of women said they had exceeded the recommended limits on three or more days.

The survey also found that across Northern Ireland 65% of drinkers consume at home, while only 20% consume in either a pub or restaurant.

The findings challenge traditional views that excessive drinking is stereotypically a habit of young people.