Home > Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland: figures for 2008.

Carew, Anne Marie (2010) Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland: figures for 2008. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 33, Spring 2010 , p. 13.

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Figures from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) for treated problem alcohol use in Ireland in 2008 by HSE area of residence are currently available on the HRB website.1  

Some of the main results are:
  • In total, 7,940 cases were treated for problem alcohol use in 2007, an increase of 628 on the 7,312 cases treated in 2007. This may be attributed to an increase in the number of people presenting for treatment, or it may reflect the increase in the number of treatment centres participating in the NDTRS in 2008.
  • Both the incidence and prevalence of treated problem alcohol use among 15–64-year-olds increased in each of the years between 2004 and 2008. 
  • The incidence of treated problem alcohol use among 15–64-year-olds living in Ireland, expressed per 100,000 of the population, increased from 118.3 in 2007 to 120.0 in 2008 (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 222.6 in 2007 to 243.3 in 2008 (Figure 1). 

These increases in incidence and prevalence 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.

Almost one in five of those treated for problem alcohol use in 2008 also reported using at least one other substance, a similar proportion to that observed in 2007 and 2006. In 2008, the most common additional drugs used by treated alcohol cases were cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and opiates. This ranking reflects a minor change since 2007, when benzodiazepines were the fourth most common additional drug. Use of more than one substance increases the complexity of cases and leads to poorer outcomes for the patient. Information about combinations of substances used is important in terms of individual clients’ care plans.

In 2008, the median age at which both new and previously treated cases began drinking was 16 years, similar to previous years. 

The age profile of cases treated for problem alcohol use was the same in 2007 and 2008. The median age for all treated cases was 39 years; for new cases, the median age continued to be younger (36 years). While the proportion of cases under the age of 18 remained small, the number of 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 (2010) Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland: figures for 2008 from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System. Dublin: Health Research Board. Available at www.drugsandalcohol.ie/12770
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 33, Spring 2010
Date:19 April 2010
Page Range:p. 13
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 33, Spring 2010
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use > Problem drugs and alcohol use
HJ Treatment method > Drugs and alcohol disorder treatment method
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol disorder > Alcohol use
A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use > Drugs and alcohol use behaviour > Alcohol consumption

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