In the 12 years since 2002, MEAS and its consumer facing brand drinkaware.ie have led the way in developing initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of drinking responsibly, changing attitudes towards excessive drinking and helping address the urgent issue of alcohol misuse in Ireland.
Supported by MEAS, Fáilte Ireland and the on-trade representative organisations, more than 17,000 bar-tenders undertook training in the responsible serving of alcohol. For information on current server training initiatives, click www.alcohol.ie
The membership of the Independent Complaints Panel established under the MEAS Code of Practice was fully independent and brought a wide variety of experience to its deliberations. The Panel decided on 64 complaints during its life. All complaints were published in the media, on the MEAS website and in annual reports circulated to relevant stakeholders.
The MEAS Code Advisory Service was widely used by producer, retail and media/advertising agency representatives and contributed significantly to code compliance.
MEAS has called on Government to introduce a single statutory code that addresses promotional activity by all retailers of alcohol, backed by Section 17 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011.
MEAS hosted a number of national conferences on important themes including:
More than €25m (in cash and in kind) was invested in drinkaware.ie’s award winning communications programme which challenged our culture of excessive drinking, and provided information and strategies to support responsible drinking. The programme was research led and delivered in partnership with a broad range of organisations.
Research undertaken by Millward Browne in January 2014 (the MB research1) found that drinkaware.ie was perceived as the leading organisation promoting drinking in moderation; 85% of over 18s were aware of drinkaware and the awareness level increased to 91% amongst 18 – 29 year olds, drinkaware’s key target audience.
More than 9 in 10 of those aware of drinkaware said the brand should be used more widely, while 7 in 10 said ‘it is effective without pointing the finger’.
More than 1.1m unique visitors logged on to www.drinkaware.ie, while responsible drinking messages developed by third level students in the 2013/2014 Dare2bdrinkaware.ie competition reached more than half a million.
Alcohol consumption reduced by some 26% in Ireland in the 12 year period since 20012. The MB research found that 9 in 10 drank the same or less in 2013 v 2012, 7 in 10 now consider their drinking pace, while 6 in 10 now consider the quantity they drink.
The MB research also found that 6 in 10 now know what a standard drink is, 5 in 10 know the time it takes to process alcohol, and that 8 in 10 now organise transport to avoid anyone drink driving. There has been a very significant reduction in road fatalities in Ireland since 2007 and in the rate of detection of drink driving3.
The MB research also found that 8 in 10 believed there is growing awareness of the effects of excessive drinking, while 9 in 10 agreed that being drunk in public is unattractive to the opposite sex.
Irish and international research reports have recorded a reduction in the prevalence of underage drinking in Ireland, particularly since 20074, while Garda data5 shows a reduction in public order offences (some 36%) between 2008 and 2012.