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[Irish Medical Times] , Mudiwa, Lloyd Cost-benefit analysis for alcohol strategy. (17 Feb 2012)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/news/research-and-education/2012...

A cost-benefit analysis will have to be undertaken before the implementation of radical measures recommended in order to tackle alcohol abuse, including the introduction of a levy and banning of alcohol sponsorship of major cultural events, Irish Medical Times reports.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan told IMT: “Any future proposals that may involve legislation on alcohol would inevitably require a regulatory impact assessment and it is in this context that work on a cost-benefit analysis would generally be carried out.”

His comments came after the National Substance Misuse Strategy steering group presented its recommendations to the Minister of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall last week.

Yet some members of the group, set up to identify ways of tackling alcohol misuse, immediately questioned Government support and expressed concern the drinks industry may persuade legislators against its more extreme recommendations. Minister Shortall had to leave the presentation early and Minister for Health Dr James Reilly was absent, attending a Cabinet meeting.

Predicting that the report would be a “hot political potato”, Denis Bradley, a representative of the voluntary sector on the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and a member of the group, told the press: “A lot of these recommendations have been put to Government before and Government has walked away from them. Politicians must look at the report in its totality and not fight for their own narrow interests, whether that’s in communications, transport or sport.”

He added: “This is not a killjoy report. This report is not about stopping drinking, or a ‘nanny state’. This is about reducing the amount of alcohol we consume, which is outrageously high.”

It recommended a ‘social responsibility’ levy on the drinks industry and phasing out its sponsorship of sport and other large events by 2016.


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