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Mongan, Deirdre (2009) Alcohol Implementation Group report 2008. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 29, Spring 2009 , pp. 14-15.

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Ms Mary Wallace TD, Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety at the Department of Health and Children, published the Social Partnership Alcohol Implementation Group (AIG) report in December 2008.1  This group was formed to monitor and report on progress on the implementation of the actions contained in its report, Working together to reduce the harms caused by alcohol misuse.2 The group comprised social partners and relevant government departments and agencies, and agreed a programme of 29 actions to deliver targeted results in relation to underage drinking, binge drinking and drink driving.  

The main actions and progress to date are outlined below. 
Actions
Progress to date
Local community responses
·    Establish 4–6 community mobilisation projects (CMPs)
Nineteen grants totalling €1,061,955 were awarded to community-based projects to tackle alcohol misuse.
The AIG is disappointed that the envisaged number of multi-agency CMPs have not been established.
Treatment intervention services
·    Establish pilot screening and brief intervention (SBI) programmes and protocols in healthcare settings 
The HSE is introducing systems whereby alcohol-related data collection and SBI can be put in place in all acute hospitals, and is developing protocols for the roll-out of SBI programmes on a pilot basis in some acute hospitals.
Awareness and education
·    Continue roll-out of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme in schools
·    Develop education initiatives in out of school settings
·    Increase training on alcohol issues for community/youth workers
·    Increase public awareness through local media campaigns
The SPHE is a compulsory part of the junior cycle programme and a SPHE curriculum for senior cycle students has been finalised. The Department of Education and Science intends to establish a working group to develop guidelines for implementing programmes in non-school settings.
The HSE ran a public information campaign on underage drinking in 2008 and the drinks industry has committed to providing funding of €20 million to promote responsible alcohol use.
 
Alternative facilities
·    Promote and develop alcohol-free recreational facilities
·    Promote responsible approaches to alcohol by sporting organisations
In 2007, €1.12 million was allocated to provide recreational and personal development opportunities for disadvantaged young people.
The national recreation policy,Teenspace, was launched in 2007 and provides a strategic framework for the promotion of positive recreational opportunities.
The HSE has developed partnerships with the GAA and the FAI to address alcohol-related harm though policy and action. 
Compliance and enforcement
·    Promote responsible serving of alcohol (RSA) and trading programmes
·    Improve security for National Age Card to prevent forgery
·    Develop early intervention within the justice system 
In 2007 a working group was established to review the effectiveness of RSA programmes.
The National Age Card regulations are in place and the new card contains security features to prevent forgery.
In 2007, 29 new Garda youth diversion projects were announced and 12 new projects are expected in 2008; €11.909 million has been allocated for these projects in 2008.
Workplace
·    Develop guidelines for workplace alcohol policy
The HSE is working with IBEC and ICTU to develop and publish these guidelines.
Below-cost selling
·    Prohibit below-cost selling
The AIG is hopeful that the report of the Alcohol Advisory Group will lead to progress on this issue.
 
Off-trade
·    Develop a code of practice with the off-trade sector
This process is being led by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform following enactment of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008.
 
Alcohol advertising
·    Consider further representation from social partners on alcohol monitoring body
·    Introduce a 9pm watershed for alcohol advertising
Strengthened codes of practice have been accepted and came into effect in 2008. Some social partners expressed the view, however, that legislation was preferable to voluntary codes as a means of protecting young people.
Drink driving
·    Introduce random breath testing
·    Reduce blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers to 0.05% (50mg per 100ml)
·    Review lowering of BAC limit for provisional drivers
Random breath testing was introduced in 2006 and led to a decrease in road fatalities in 2007.
The current road safety strategy identifies the need to reduce the legal BAC level and the government has accepted this recommendation.
Labelling
·    Establish group to consider what information to include on non-draft alcohol products
The AIG recommends that mandatory information be shown on labels, including the amount of alcohol in the container and the dangers of alcohol consumption in pregnancy.
 The AIG had mixed views on the progress achieved in implementing the actions, and some partners expressed concern that the present group had a narrow focus and did not encompass the broad range of recommendations contained in the Strategic Task Force on Alcohol report.  However, it was agreed that a remit to monitor and seek implementation of a smaller number of actions would improve the possibility of progress in the area, and establishing a small number of broadly based community mobilisation projects was considered a very worthwhile initiative by the group.
1. Department of Health and Children (2008) Report of the implementation group on alcohol misuse. Dublin: DOHC.
2. Department of Health and Children (2006) Sustaining Progress special initiative: working together to reduce the harms caused by alcohol misuse. Dublin: DOHC.
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 29, Spring 2009
Date:2009
Page Range:pp. 14-15
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 29, Spring 2009
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Problem substance use
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Programme planning, implementation, and evaluation

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