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Home > RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol submission on Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015.

Royal College of Physicians Policy Group on Alcohol. (2015) RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol submission on Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. Dublin: Royal College of Physicians.

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At international meetings of liver specialists our physicians were increasingly expressing concern about the sharp increase in cirrhosis and other disease caused by alcohol use in Ireland. The number of deaths due to liver disease has doubled in the last 20 years, and alcohol is associated with occupation of approximately 1500 beds each night in Irish hospitals.

Alcohol-related disorders accounted for one in 10 first admissions to Irish psychiatric hospitals in 2011 and alcohol is a leading cause of cancer in Ireland. A quarter of all injuries presenting to accident and emergency departments are alcohol related. It is a factor in suicide, domestic abuse and accidents. There is also evidence that alcohol has a reinforcing effect on poverty. Alcohol harm costs the taxpayer an estimated €3.7 billion a year in health, crime and public order costs in addition to other ancillary costs such as work-place absenteeism.

In a recent report the WHO highlights that almost half of all Irish drinkers engage in heavy episodic drinking on a regular basis, putting Ireland close to the top in binge drinking worldwide1. Thus, Ireland has a major problem in both the quantity of alcohol consumed and the pattern of that consumption.

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