Irish drinking culture is famous around the world and has contributed to the stereotype that Irish people are drunk all the time.
With this in mind it may come as a bit of a shock that Irish students drink alcohol less often than their European counterparts. However, we do consume more alcohol when we drink , according to a European survey published on Friday June 1.
The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) showed 50% of all Irish 15 and 16-year-olds surveyed had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days, 7% below the European average.
ESPAD is the largest cross-national research project on adolescent substance use in the world.
Over the same period two out of every five Irish students had five or more drinks, which was slightly above the European norm.
Average alcohol consumption on the last drinking day among the surveyed was 6.7cl of pure alcohol, compared to 5.1cl across the rest of Europe.
In Ireland, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy alcohol or to consume it unless they are in a private residence and have parental consent.
A total of 19% of Irish students surveyed had tried illegal drugs, a drop from 37% since 1995. Lifetime use of cannabis has also fallen by 19%
Use of drugs such as cannabis and inhalants among Irish students is now in line with European averages.
Irish students also smoke less during the past month than their European peers, with 23%of girls and 19% of boys admitting to having smoked, compared to a 28% average across Europe. Overall, the number of cigarette smokers in this age group in Ireland has halved since 1995.
Beer was the most popular drink among Irish boys, with 47% drinking it, while 37% of girls chose cider as their drink of choice.
A total of 37% of the Irish students surveyed reported being intoxicated in the past 12 months, and 23% were drunk in the past 30 days. This compared with an overall European average of 17%.
The Irish survey was carried out by Dr Mark Morgan of the department of education and human development in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.
So the question is are we living up to the Irish stereotype because we feel we have to or do we just enjoy a good time?
(Text originally published in studenty_Cork on June 1 2012 http://cork.studenty.me/2012/06/01/irish-students-drink-less-often-than-european-peers/)