Story at a glance

  • The Global Drug Survey, which asked 32,000 people across 22 countries questions about their substance use, found that the average Australian consumed alcohol to the point of drunkenness nearly 27 times last year.
  • Denmark and Finland followed closely behind Australia with residents in each nation getting drunk around 24 times in 2020.
  • The U.S. and the U.K round out the top 5.

An international survey measuring alcohol and drug use in 2020 found Australians were intoxicated more times on average than any other country in the world. 

The Global Drug Survey, which asked 32,000 people across 22 countries questions about their substance use, found that the average Australian consumed alcohol to the point of drunkenness nearly 27 times last year. And slightly more than a quarter of Australians surveyed said they felt regret. 

Denmark and Finland followed closely behind Australia with residents in each nation getting drunk around 24 times in 2020. The U.S. and the U.K round out the top 5. Americans said they were intoxicated around 23 times while people in the U.K. noted they were inebriated more than 22 times. 

Respondents across the globe on average said they experienced feelings of intoxication more than 14 times last year or slightly more than once a month. Globally, the top reason for regret, respondents said, was that they drank too much too quickly. 

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The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive, Caterina Giorgi, told The Guardian the numbers in the survey reveal that Australians are drinking at “fairly risky levels.” 

“We’ve seen a steep increase, which has sustained calls for help to drug and alcohol hotlines, and increased alcohol involvement with family violence callouts,” she continued, noting the uptick reflects a greater number of people using alcohol to cope with stress amid the pandemic. 

“Those habits are hard to undo as we continue to live in this Covid environment,” she said.

The survey notes around 1.2 percent of respondents sought emergency medical treatment due to drinking. 


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Published on Dec 03, 2021