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[Irish Medical Times] , Reilly, Catherine Getting a handle on our drink problem. (12 Nov 2013)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/features-opinion/2013/11/getting...

Dr Garrett McGovern tells Catherine Reilly setting up a treatment and rehabilitative programme to tackle Ireland’s drink problem is not rocket science.

Plentiful treatment services and education outreach that do not “patronise” young people are the key ingredients in tackling Ireland’s alcohol problem, over and above measures surrounding alcohol pricing and advertising, a leading addiction specialist has told IMT.

Dr Garrett McGovern was speaking following the Budget 2014 measures of a 10 cent increase on a packet of cigarettes, a 10 cent increase on the price of a pint or standard measure of spirits and 50 cent extra on a bottle of wine, and in advance of the Government announcement of well-signposted proposals on minimum pricing and advertising, as well as a commitment to review sponsorship of sporting events by alcohol companies.

On press briefing documents, at the announcement on measures to address alcohol misuse, the Department of Health stated an aim to develop a national treatment and rehabilitative service that promoted early intervention, but did not state a timeline for this.

Dr McGovern suggested that the Government was attaching too little weight to some measures, and too much to others. “There is a large group of people in this country who drink perfectly sensibly,” the Dublin-based GP said.

“The vast majority of people in this country either drink sensibly or from time to time drink too much, and there is a group who drink really heavily. Increasing the prices, in my opinion, will only have an effect on the less-established drinkers — I am talking about the young people.”


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