Alcoholism Rates


In this paper, the rate of alcoholism is compared among three countries; the United States of America, Ireland, and France. Among the three countries, the United States of America has the highest population while Ireland has the lowest population of the three nations. However, while the United States of America and France show an almost similar percentage of alcoholism penetration, Ireland exhibits the highest rate of individuals who are affected by alcoholism (“Alcohol Consumption”). The aim of this paper is to critically analyze the main reasons for the disparity exhibited in the alcoholism rates among the three countries.

The primary determining factor among the three countries is the differences in drinking culture. After intensive research, it was concluded that drinking cultures are divided into two major categories; wet and dry drinking cultures. In the wet drinking culture, alcohol consumption is viewed as a common tradition and, therefore, it is incorporated into the daily activities of people within that culture. Consequently, alcohol is readily available and accessible to a vast portion of the general population. Additionally, alcohol abstinence is relatively low in countries with a wet drinking culture. On the other hand, dry drinking culture is characterized by less frequent consumption of alcohol and, therefore, it is not integrated into daily activities. Furthermore, the access to alcohol is restricted. Moreover, the rate of alcohol abstinence is relatively higher than in countries of wet drinking culture. Among our three states of comparison, United States of America and France exhibit a dry drinking culture while Ireland shows a wet drinking culture (“Alcohol Consumption”).

Furthermore, Ireland has a significantly higher number of people who have normalized binge drinking of alcohol as a form of stress reliever. The latter notion can be ascertained from the statistics that suggest more than half of parents in Ireland are okay with their children taking alcohol. In some cases, parents introduce underage children to alcohol and in some cases, suggest the type of alcohol that their children should start with (Delaney et al., 26). Consequently, the young adults proceed to embrace the drinking culture which often leads to alcoholic disorders and other related diseases. Moreover, the popularization of the pub culture in Ireland has significantly influenced the continued significant numbers of alcoholism. The pub culture has become so famous that people from other parts of the world visit Ireland to experience it. Considering that it is characterized by binge drinking, it is likely to contribute to alcohol-related ailments.

Government intervention and policy measures are also vital factors that influence the disparities in alcoholism in the three countries. In Ireland, the government imposes lower taxes when compared to the other two countries. However, France imposes a lower tax on alcohol when compared to the United States of America. Lower taxes and ease of licensing give companies involved in the alcohol industry more resources to market their products and thus, significantly increase their customer base. Furthermore, the extension of hours in which alcohol vendors can sell their products over the years does not aid in curbing the problem of alcoholism (Delaney et al., 35).

Apart from the above factors, other determinants such as education levels and religion have some effect on the level of alcoholism. Regarding religion, France and the United States of America have shown that their beliefs have little significance on their drinking habits. On the other hand, Ireland has shown two sides of the effect of religion. On one side, the Catholic Church has made attempts in reducing the number of alcoholics through its teachings. On the flip side, the culture of brewing alcohol in the past was common among monasteries and thus, contributing to the normalization of the drinking culture (Delaney et al., 46). Concerning education levels, alcohol consumption has affected specific demographics in all three countries. Generally, individuals who dropped out of high school or at the college level are at a higher risk of becoming alcoholics when compared to people who have graduated from college.

In the three countries, the respective governments have commenced alcoholism awareness programs that are aimed at assisting individuals who are suffering from alcoholism. However, the general public in the three countries has had a lukewarm reception to these intervention efforts. The latter sentiment is ascertained from the low percentage of people who seek professional assistance against the number of people who have severe issues of alcoholism. In some communities, these programs are considered to be a preserve for “weak” people and, therefore, people shun away from seeking help. However, hope for the future still exists as governments in their respective countries have increased funding for alcohol awareness programs. Moreover, the adverse effects of alcoholism have become more visible to the general public through the statistics that are continually published on an annual basis.

In conclusion, alcoholism continues to be a problem that has the potential to affect anyone regardless of geographical location. Therefore, an international effort is required to combat the menace of alcoholism. Moreover, assistance should be offered to every demographic to reduce the chances of alcoholism experiencing resurgence once it is on the decline. Therefore, international interventions on alcoholism should be non-discriminatory.


Works Cited

“Alcohol Consumption.” Our World in Data,

Delaney, Liam D., et al. “Why Do Some Irish Drink So Much? Family, Historical and Regional Effects on Students’ Alcohol Consumption and Subjective Normative Thresholds.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2011.