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Binge-drinking runs rampant in Poland: study

05.11.2022 15:59
A pronounced shift towards stronger liquors and more ‘risky’ drinking has been observed in Poland, according to a study by SW Research.
Alcohol dependence affects almost 4.4 of Polands adult population, while the European average amounts to 3.4.
Alcohol dependence affects almost 4.4% of Poland's adult population, while the European average amounts to 3.4%.shutterstock/Syda Productions

The research employed the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) methodology, which WHO defines as a simple method of screening for excessive drinking and to assist in brief assessment.

By means of the study, it’s been determined that at the height of the pandemic 17% of Poles drank at least 6 drinks per drinking occasion.

This threshold constitutes the basis for the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder and its exceedance is considered a symptom of “harmful and risky” drinking.

The quoted figure saw a minor drop once the pandemic ended – at present 16.5% drink in excess once a week.

Simultaneously, 22% of the surveyed said they abstained from alcohol completely amid COVID-related lockdowns, compared to 16% in the pre-pandemic period.

Now the population of teetotallers has dwindled, as currently 18% declare they refrain from drinking, according to SW Research’s data.

Those statistics are in line with the findings by the State Agency for Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems (PARPA).

Consumption of stronger alcoholic drinks in 2021 went through the roof in Poland, setting its new record since the 1990s, while beer sales saw the largest decline in 10 years.

Lockdowns and pandemic-induced cancellations of mass events are believed to be among the factors that made Poles more prone to reach for drinks with a higher alcohol content, such as meads, wines and spirits.

In terms of ethanol intake, strong liquors last year represented a staggering 39.2% of all alcohol consumption, the agency’s data showed.

Last year’s study by Biostat found that some 20% of Poles quaff alcoholic beverages a couple of days a week and around one in nine admitted to drinking more in the midst of the pandemic than before it broke out.

According to a 2018 report by WHO, upwards of 2.5 million Poles drink excessively, and between 700,000 and 900,000 are addicted to alcohol.

Meanwhile, 3-4 million people live in families affected by alcoholism, including up to 2 million children, according to WHO.

At the same time, Poland has more off-licences than pharmacies, the former totalling nearly 85,000 as compared to over 13 thousand of the latter.

On average, Poland has one alcohol retail outlet per 309 people, but WHO recommends keeping this value in the vicinity of 1,000-1,500.

Buying alcohol in Poland is possible in groceries, drugstores and petrol stations.


Source: PAP, Przeglądstopuzaleznieniom.pl