Women drinking almost as much as men, as alcohol gap narrows

Alcohol Action Ireland say 88 Irish deaths every month are attributable to alcohol

Women drinking almost as much as men, as alcohol gap narrows

File photo of a woman drinking a glass of beer | Image: Yui Mok PA Wire/PA Images

The gap between men and women in terms of drinking alcohol - and its associated dangers - is narrowing.

A study, looking at trends from 1891 to 2001, has been published in the medical journal BMJ Open.

It found that historically, alcohol use and related harms are more prevalent in men than in women.

But emerging evidence suggests this is changing with younger groups.

The research calculated male-to-female ratios for three broad categories of alcohol use and harms: any use, problematic use and related harms

It ultimately found there was a decrease over time in the sex ratio for all three categories.

Among those born in the early 1900s, men were 2.2 times more likely than women to consume alcohol, 3.0 times more likely to drink alcohol in ways suggestive of problematic use and 3.6 times more likely to experience alcohol-related harms.

But for those born in the late 1900s, males were 1.1 times more likely than females to consume alcohol, 1.2 times more likely to drink alcohol in ways suggestive of problematic use and 1.3 times more likely to experience alcohol-related harms.

"161 million years of life lost"

"Findings confirm the closing male-female gap in indicators of alcohol use and related harms", it says.

"The closing male-female gap is most evident among young adults, highlighting the importance of prospectively tracking young male and female cohorts as they age into their 30s, 40s and beyond."

"Alcohol use and alcohol-related harms are among the most significant risk factors for burden of disease.

"Overall, they resulted in around five million deaths globally in 2010, and were responsible for more than 161 million years of life lost, equating to 5% of total global health burden", BMJ says.

According to the Health Research Board, three deaths per day in Ireland were alcohol-related in 2013 - while an estimated 167,170 people suffered an alcohol-related assault.

In 2014, one-in-three self-harm cases were alcohol related and the rate of alcohol-related liver disease trebled between 1995 and 2013.

While Alcohol Action Ireland say 88 deaths every month are directly attributable to alcohol.

It says one-in-four deaths of young men aged 15-39 here is also due to alcohol - and there are almost twice as many deaths due to alcohol in Ireland as due to all other drugs combined.