ONE in five Irish drinkers want to cut back on their consumption of alcohol and nearly 10 per cent are so worried they want to banish drink from their lives for good, a Millward Brown IMS National Opinion Poll has found.
The landmark poll designed to chart how we feel about our lives in 2008, found that personal concern about alcohol consumption is even higher among 18 to 24-year-olds.
The findings are a stark message to Government that severe measures are needed to stem alcohol abuse.
The Institute of Public Health has already called for more limits on the availability of alcohol.
In its submission to the Government's Alcohol Advisory Group, the institute called for an end to special promotions by supermarkets and laws on the minimum pricing of alcohol.
They want rules banning drinks promotions in off-licences to be extended to supermarkets and for more to be done to stop teenagers under-18 being sold alcohol.
The Irish people have little appetite for legalising drugs such as cannabis with 65 per cent opposed.
Just under one in four (23 per cent) are in favour of legalising drugs, though the figure rises to 41 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.
There is scepticism that the recent reported deaths from drugs, like cocaine, will act as a deterrent. The poll found that just 36 per cent of us believe that the recent tragic deaths will make people less tempted to take cocaine.
As well as examining attitudes to alcohol consumption, the poll also enquired into our social habits discovering that drinking at home is the choice for those who drink.
It found that 30 per cent of us would prefer to drink at home rather than in the pub. For 56 per cent of us, the pub is still the preferred place to drink and the figure rose to 62 per cent among men and 74 per cent among the farming community.
The latter figure suggests that the pub is still regarded as an important social hub outside urban areas and an antidote to the isolation of rural life. However, 48 per cent believe that the enforcement of the drink driving laws has made the pub a less attractive option. The figure is significantly higher at 62 per cent among the farming community.
The smoking ban has widespread approval with just 27 per cent saying that the ban has made pubs less enjoyable. Nearly one in three of us are still regular smokers, the poll found.
Given a choice, 35 per cent of us would prefer a meal in a restaurant for a night out and the figure rises to 40 per cent among women. The poll found that 30 per cent still prefer the pub for a night out.
But our personal concern about how much we drink is the most stark finding of the national poll. In all, 29 per cent admit they drink alcohol two or three times a week and 7 per cent say they drink more than four times each week.
But the level of regular drinking among 18 to 24-year-olds is deeply worrying, with one in 10 young adults drinking alcohol more than four times a week and 37 per cent drinking two or three times every seven days.
Our love affair with the internet as a social outlet is significant with 22 per cent who access to the internet admitting they are a member of a social networking group on the web such as Facebook or Bebo.
The figure rises to a staggering 53 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.