Minister for Health Leo Varadkar published far-reaching legislation to tackle Ireland’s ongoing problem with alcohol misuse and reduce consumption. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill treats this as a public health issue for the first time and aims to reduce the damage that alcohol causes to individuals and to society. Its goal is to reduce average annual alcohol consumption in Ireland from 11 to 9.1 litres per person by 2020.
HBSC collects information on key indicators of health, health attitudes and health behaviour, as well as the context of health for young people. HBSC is a school-based survey with data collected through self-completion questionnaires administered by teachers in the classroom. Areas addressed include general health, smoking, use of alcohol and other substances, food and dietary behaviour, exercise and physical activity, self-care, injuries, bullying, including cyber bullying and sexual health behaviours. There was an overall decrease in reported levels of smoking and drunkenness and an increase in levels of never drinking between 2010 and 2014. Smoking, alcohol use and cannabis use were more commonly reported among boys and older children while social class differences were not evident.
The Healthy Ireland Survey is an interviewer-administered survey with interviews conducted on a face-to-face basis with individuals aged 15 and over. The initial wave of this survey involved 7,539 interviews. Fieldwork was conducted between November 2014 and August 2015.