Home > Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland: figures for 2013 from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System.

Health Research Board. (2015) Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland: figures for 2013 from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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This update presents figures from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) on treated problem alcohol use in Ireland, for the period 2009 to 2013.

Total number of cases
• The total number of cases treated for problem alcohol use in Ireland increased from 7,816 in 2009 to a peak of 8,604 in 2011, an increase of 10.1%. In 2013 the number of cases decreased to 7,549, a drop of 12.3% since 2011 (Table 1).
• The number of new cases treated for problem alcohol use rose by 7.1%, from 4,220 in 2009 to a peak of 4,520 in 2011. The number of new cases reported decreased in 2012 and again in 2013 to 3,578, a drop of 20.8% between 2011 and 2013 (Table 2).
• The number of cases who returned for treatment increased by 19.5%, from 3,524 cases in 2009 to a peak of 4,212 in 2012. The number of returning cases decreased by 9.8% to 3,801 in 2013 (Table 2).

Incidence and prevalence
• The incidence of treated problem alcohol use among 15–64-year-olds living in Ireland, expressed per 100,000 of the population, increased from 131.0 in 2009 to 141.2 in 2011 and subsequently decreased to 112.0 in 2013 (Figure 1).
• The prevalence of treated problem alcohol use among 15–64-year-olds living in Ireland, expressed per 100,000 of the population, increased from 243.0 in 2009 to 269.8 in 2011 and subsequently decreased to 237.1 in 2013 (Figure 1).

Geographic distribution
• The incidence of treatment for problem alcohol use by county for the period 2009 to 2013 was highest in Waterford, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Carlow (with each of these counties reporting more than 240 cases per 100,000 of the 15–64-year-old population) (Figure 2).
• The incidence rates were lowest in Roscommon, Clare, Mayo, Meath and Limerick (with each of these countries reporting less than 75 cases per 100,000) (Figure 2).
• Local Health Offices (LHO), Cork/North Lee (6.6%), Waterford (6.4%) and Donegal (5.9%) reported the highest proportions of cases in 2013 (Table 3).
• Twenty two LHOs out of 32 recorded a decrease in the number of cases reported between 2012 and 2013 but no specific geographic pattern or trend was observed (Table 3).

Poly drug use
• Nearly one fifth (18.8%) of those treated for problem alcohol use in 2013 also reported using at least one other drug, a similar proportion to that observed in previous years (Tables 6 & 8).
• In 2013, the most common drugs used by treated alcohol cases in conjunction with alcohol were cannabis, followed by cocaine, benzodiazepines and ecstasy. Use of more than one drug increases the complexity of cases and can lead to poorer outcomes for the patient. (Tables 6 and 8).

Socio-demographic characteristics
• In 2013, half of those in treatment for problem alcohol use started drinking alcohol at 15 years of age or younger, with little change seen over the past five years (Table 9).
• The median age for cases was 40 years, similar to previous years (Table 10).
• While the proportion of cases under the age of 18 remained small (3.0%) in 2013, the number of new cases in that age group has fallen, from 6.4% in 2010 to 5.0% in 2013 (Table 10).
• The majority of cases, both new (62.6%) and previously treated (64.0%) were male.
• The proportion of cases in employment decreased from 26.0% in 2008 to 19.7% in 2012 and subsequently increased to 21.5% in 2013 (Table 10).
• The proportion of all cases who were homeless in 2013 at 5.7%. Previously treated cases were more likely to be homeless (7.4%) compared to new cases (3.8%) (Table 10).
• Those who used other drugs along with alcohol were more likely to be unemployed and to live in unstable accommodation (Table 10; Figures 6 and 7).

Notwithstanding the increase in the number of centres reporting to the NDTRS within the time period, there was a decrease in the number of cases treated between 2012 and 2013. This may reflect a true decrease in the number of cases presenting for treatment for problem alcohol use but may also reflect reduced levels of participation, or under reporting to the NDTRS, or a combination of both.


Date:June 2015
Pages:24 p.
Publisher:Health Research Board
Corporate Creators:Health Research Board
Place of Publication:Dublin
EndNote:View
Subjects:B Drugs and alcohol substances > Alcohol
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol disorder > Alcohol use > Alcohol dependence
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Treatment and maintenance > treatment factors
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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