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Home > Royal College of Physicians of Ireland calls for urgent measures to restrict availability of cheap alcohol.

Royal college of Physicians of Ireland. Royal College of Physicians of Ireland calls for urgent measures to restrict availability of cheap alcohol. (03 Feb 2014)

URL: http://www.rcpi.ie/article.php?locID=1.11.30&itemI...

Professor Frank Murray, Chair of the RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol, said, “We are greatly saddened by the recent deaths associated with excessive drinking fuelled by the social media phenomenon called Neknomination. The loss of a young person is tragic; never more so when it is completely avoidable. Sadly this extreme binge drinking will likely lead to more deaths. We support the Government in urgently implementing measures to restrict the affordability and availability of alcohol."

“The example we set in our society when it comes to alcohol does not encourage safe consumption. Widespread availability of cheap alcohol, slick advertising campaigns, and promotion of alcohol via social media are part of the problem. As doctors we regularly see the terrible harm caused by the wide scale availability of strong, cheap alcohol. These deaths highlight once again the destructive nature of alcohol and action to address this issue is needed urgently.

"The RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol has welcomed the Government’s proposed measures to address problem alcohol consumption, including the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol. It is time to now introduce this measure," Prof Murray said.

“Minimum unit pricing targets the problems caused by cheap alcohol, which is mainly consumed by problem drinkers and younger drinkers. Action on availability is also necessary. Alcohol can be purchased anywhere. This feeds into the normalisation of binge drinking and allows unrestricted consumption of alcohol. Where once people drank mainly in bars where there was some level of control, now, especially for young people, much more alcohol is consumed at home or at parties. Risky behaviours of pre-drinking and games such as the one responsible for these deaths are widespread."

“Promotion too is an issue that the government needs to address immediately, both in the traditional media and social media, which has an ever increasing impact on the culture and behaviours of our young people. We are subject to various external influences every day; social media compounds and extends this influence. Within this, there is a place for education leading to personal responsibility. We need to ensure our young people are equipped with the knowledge to make safe choices with regard to alcohol, and the government has a major role to play in supporting them in this.

“We support the government in prioritising the implementation of proposed measures on alcohol in the interest of public health. We call on young people to consider the devastating consequences of irresponsible drinking, on both them and their families,” Prof Murray said.

 

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