Home > Opinion: The first step to fixing Ireland’s alcohol problem? Fight back against the drinks industry.

[thejournal.ie] , Mercille, Julien Opinion: The first step to fixing Ireland’s alcohol problem? Fight back against the drinks industry. (30 May 2014)

URL: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/drinks-industry-wo...

Alcohol kills about 3.3 million people every year, or 5.9 per cent of all deaths globally, a new report by the World Health Organisation notes. It is also linked to over 200 disease and injury conditions and is associated, for example, with liver cirrhosis, cancers, and alcohol dependence.

The Irish drink a lot, and in particular, binge drinking is very high here compared to other countries, at 39 per cent of people. Alcohol Action Ireland remarked that this ‘puts Ireland just behind Austria with 40.5 per cent at the top of the 194 countries studied and well ahead of our neighbours in Britain at 28 per cent’.

The costs are large. Almost 10 per cent of Irish children say that their parents’ use of alcohol has negative effects on their lives, for a total of 110,000 children. As many as 25 per cent of injuries admissions to hospitals’ emergency departments are related to alcohol, which is also strongly linked to suicide, especially among young men. 88 deaths every month in Ireland are directly caused by alcohol, along with 1,200 cases of cancer each year. One in four deaths of men younger than 40 years old is due to alcohol, as are a third of road accidents. 2,000 hospital beds are occupied for reasons related to alcohol, and treating related injuries and diseases costs about €1.2 billion, or 8.5 per cent of the annual health care budget.

Moreover, the health and crime problems linked to alcohol cost us €3.7 billion a year. If we reduced by 30 per cent the harms caused, the exchequer would save €1 billion. Cheap alcohol is a problem as a man can reach his low risk weekly limit by spending less than €10 and a woman €6.30.

Item Type:News
Date:30 May 2014
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Theory of substance use > Moral substance use disorder theory
B Substances > Alcohol
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Substance industry or business
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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