A MAJOR drug and alcohol survey has found that the average person living in Ireland gets drunk 20 times a year and a quarter regret doing so afterwards.
The Global Drug Survey (GDS) uses an encrypted online platform to collect anonymous drug-use data from across the world.
Some 32,000 people took part in the 2021 survey globally, including 898 Irish people.
The GDS defined being drunk as “having drunk so much that your physical and mental faculties are impaired to the point where your balance/speech was affected, you were unable to focus clearly on things and that your conversation and behaviours were very obviously different to people who know you”.
By that metric, the Irish participants said they got drunk 20 times last year on average, which was the seventh highest amount behind Canada, the UK, USA, Finland, Denmark and Australia.
Irish men said they got drunk the most times in 2021 at 22 occasions, with 15 for women and 14 for people who identify as trans, non-binary or intersex.
When people were asked to consider if they regretted getting drunk, the survey defined regret as “wishing you had drunk less or not drunk at all”.
Irish respondents topped the table, feeling regretful 283 times in total.
Irish women reported the highest instances of regret at 37 times, compared to 28 for people who identify as trans, non-binary or intersex, and 25 for men.
Globally, the number-one reason why people got so drunk and then regretted it was because they drank too much too quickly. Other reasons included mixing drinks, socialising with “big drinkers” and because they mixed alcohol with other drugs.
In terms of the number of times when drinking alcohol led to respondents needing emergency medical treatment, 2pc of Irish people surveyed said they sought medical treatment as a serious consequence of drinking.
Some 7pc of those who identify as trans, non-binary or intersex said they needed medical treatment, compared to 2pc of men and 1.5pc of women surveyed in Ireland.
In a year when many people socialised more at home to due to Covid-19 restrictions, globally almost 77pc of alcohol/drug-related injuries happened in the home, followed by 9.6pc in outdoor public spaces, 4pc at house parties and 3pc in bars and clubs.
The survey also looked at the use of cocaine and cannabis among people from Ireland and further afield, and their attitudes towards the way they consume the drugs.
A total of 52pc of Irish respondents said they adopted “Covid-safe cocaine practices” over the last 12 months, including wearing a mask while consuming the drug, maintaining a one-metre distance from others, and refusing to accept an offer of cocaine from another person.
Meanwhile, 20.4pc of those surveyed in Ireland said they engaged in riskier Covid-19-related behaviour, while 28pc said their cocaine habits were unchanged despite the pandemic.
In terms of cannabis use, 59pc of Irish cannabis consumers said they adopted “Covid-safe cannabis practices” – including not sharing joints, keeping windows open and keeping one-metre apart from others.
A total of 22pc of those surveyed in Ireland said they engaged in riskier Covid-19 related behaviour, while 20pc said their cannabis consumption habits did not change.
The Global Drug Survey is an independent research organisation, based in London, which was established in 2012 and to date over 900,000 people have taken part in GDS research.
GDS researchers said the data can be used to describe use patterns and identify new drug trends.