Home > Minister Feighan welcomes publication of National Alcohol Treatment data.

[Department of Health] Minister Feighan welcomes publication of National Alcohol Treatment data. (04 Jul 2022)

External website: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/721ad-minister...

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing, and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, welcomes the publication of the National Drug Treatment Reporting System data on Alcohol Treatment for 2021. The report demonstrates the ongoing need for a public health response in order to address harmful alcohol use as well as the social factors associated with the harmful use of alcohol.


The report notes the reduction in new cases presenting for alcohol treatment in 2021 (3,026) when compared to new cases in 2020 (2,490) and 2019 (3,296), demonstrating an overall reduction in presentations of 270 in the last three years. In 2021, the median age of treated cases was 42 years, up from 41 in previous years (43 years for females; 41 years for males). The majority of cases in 2021 were male (62.6%). The proportion of cases with an Irish Traveller ethnicity was 2.4% in 2021, and 1 in 5 cases treated for alcohol were currently residing with children aged 17 years or younger.


Minister Feighan stated:


    "While it is encouraging to see a reduction in the number of new cases presenting for alcohol treatment, supports must be provided for children who can be harmed at every age when parents are misusing drugs or alcohol. For this reason, the national Hidden Harm project has been established by the HSE and TUSLA to inform service planning and improve services for children in these circumstances."


Minister Feighan noted that the number of cases treated in outpatient facilities has grown steadily in recent years; 4,183 cases in 2021, which is an increase of 678 compared to 2020, and up 90 cases when compared to 2019.


Minister Feighan said:


    "In December 2021, I introduced the Community Services Enhancement Fund, with €2 million to enhance community-based drug and alcohol services. The fund is part of the strategic priority to improve access to, and delivery of, services in the community. This aligns with the Sláintecare reform programme which will enhance community care and move care into the community and closer to people’s homes.


    "Under Sláintecare Healthy Communities, new Integrated Alcohol Services are also being rolled out in community settings to provide support for people with harmful alcohol use and their families. The community-based team will consist of four counsellors, a Nurse, and a Project Worker. Services are being provided in Cork and Limerick. The services will work closely with Alcohol Liaison Nurses in hospitals so that there is a joined-up approach to service delivery across community and hospital settings."


Minister Feighan added:


    "In January this year I introduced minimum unit pricing on alcohol, which prevents strong alcohol from being sold at low prices and reduces alcohol-related harm, including alcohol-related diseases, deaths, crime and health service use, this is part of a range of measures under the Public Health Alcohol Act 2018 which seeks to address the negative impacts of consumption on public health grounds."


In 2021, €2 million was provided to drug and alcohol treatment services, for 475 additional residential treatment episodes.


In 2022, €4.2m was provided to expand the provision of drug and alcohol services, €1.7m for measures to increase the availability of HSE drug and alcohol services on a nationwide basis, including services for people with alcohol addiction, people under 18 years, families affected by drugs, as well as rehabilitation and recovery programmes. Further to this, €487,000 was secured to provide for a Tier 2 Clinical Community Response to Alcohol Service in CHO 9.


Anyone with concerns regarding their own drug and alcohol use, or that of a family member or friend, should seek support from your GP, local services or contact the drug and alcohol helpline on 1800 459 459. The helpline provides support, information and guidance for any person who is concerned about their own drug or alcohol use, or that of a family member or friend.

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