The annual, UK-wide Drinkaware Monitor was published last week and the results paint an interesting picture of how people in Northern Ireland think about alcohol.

According to more than three in five adult drinkers (63%), the region has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. That’s lower than the figure recorded for the same opinion in Scotland (66%) but higher than the 56% holding this view in England and significantly beyond the 38% of Welsh adult drinkers who agree with the statement.

By contrast, in Northern Ireland, many of these same individuals do not consider their own alcohol use to be unhealthy; only one in 10 believe it to be problematic.

These numbers rise, however, when respondents were asked to assess the behaviour of family and peers: just over a quarter (27%) expressed concern over friends’ drinking. As for steps they have taken to support or assist loved ones, 25% have done nothing specific and 24% have suggested professional treatment.

While 50% of people polled in Northern Ireland have initiated a conversation around the issue, only 26% feel very comfortable talking about the topic with family. Slightly under a quarter (24%) were keen to do so with friends, compared with those who would easily speak to a partner or spouse (35%).

The Monitor also found that fewer locals are drinking at home alone in 2023 (15%) than in 2021 (22%).

If you want to learn more about alcohol, the Community Wellbeing hub is home to a range of excellent resources. From material relating to the impact of drinking to advice on taking control of worrying situations, as well as self-help toolkits and details of support services, the website is dedicated to providing the public with helpful, digestible and accurate information.