Figures from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) for treated problem alcohol use in Ireland for 2007 by HSE area of residence are currently available on the HRB website.1
Some of the main results are:
· 7,312 cases were treated for problem alcohol use in 2007, an increase of 1,436 on the 5,876 cases treated in 2006. This may be attributed to an increase in the number of people presenting for treatment, or it may reflect the increase in 2007 in the number of treatment centres participating in the NDTRS.
· The prevalence of treated problem alcohol use among 15–64-year-olds living in Ireland, expressed per 100,000 of the population, increased from 182.9 in 2006 to 222.6 in 2007.
· The incidence of treated problem alcohol use among 15–64-year-olds living in Ireland, expressed per 100,000 of the population, increased from 109.8 in 2006 to 118.3 in 2007.
· These increases in prevalence and incidence may be explained by an increase in problematic alcohol use in the population, an increase in reporting to the NDTRS, or a combination of both.
· One in five of those treated for problem alcohol use in 2007 also reported using at least one other substance, a similar proportion to that observed in 2006. The most commonly used additional drug was cannabis.
· In 2007, the median age at which both new and previously treated cases began drinking was 16 years, the same as in the previous three years.
· The median age of all treated cases was 39 years; for new cases, the median age continued to be slightly younger (37 years). While the overall proportion of cases under the age of 18 remained small, the numbers of previously treated and new cases in that age group continued to rise.
· The majority of those treated for problem alcohol use were male, with low levels of employment.
Significant improvements in the NDTRS data collection processes and procedures mean that the HRB is now able to report on the information collected from alcohol treatment services on a more regular basis.
1. Alcohol and Drug Research Unit (2009) Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland: figures for 2007 from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System. Dublin: Health Research Board. Available at www.hrb.ie/publications/alcohol-drugs