Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes statement from the RCPI’s Policy Group on Alcohol

  • Post category:Newsletter

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes the recent  statement from the Royal College of Physician of Ireland’s (RCPI) Policy Group on Alcohol and echoes its calls for the introduction of minimum pricing, along with other key measures to tackle alcohol marketing and availability.

“The huge increases in the rate of young Irish people suffering – and dying – from chronic alcohol-related conditions outlined in the statement from the RCPI today are shocking, but unfortunately they are not surprising given our high levels and dangerous patterns of alcohol consumption,” said Conor Cullen, Communications Officer with Alcohol Action Ireland.

“While the level of alcohol consumption here has dropped from a record high and saturation point of over 14 litres in 2002, we are still drinking at very harmful levels and now consume well over two litres of pure alcohol more per person each year than if we all reached our low-risk weekly limits.

“On top of this, binge drinking is a particular problem in Ireland and unfortunately, while our alcohol consumption has dropped slightly in recent years, we are without equal when it comes to binge drinking in the EU, with those doing the majority of this binge drinking – and consequently causing the most damage to themselves – aged from 18 to 29-years-old.

“While young men do binge drink more and more often than young women in Ireland, it does not mean that women are not also at significant risk, as they don’t need to drink the same amount to run the same risk of developing a large number of alcohol-related health problems. They experience greater health risks from alcohol than men, the onset of alcohol-related health problems begins earlier, and they are more vulnerable to conditions such as tissue damage and cirrhosis of the liver.

“The fall-out from our harmful relationship with alcohol is reflected by the huge and rapidly increasing number of young people that are now being treated for alcohol-related illnesses in our hospitals – a daily reality faced the members of the RCPI’s Alcohol Policy Group, whose recommendations are broadly in line with those contained in the Steering Group Report on the National Substance Misuse Strategy, which was published over a year ago now.

“The need for measures tackling the pricing, availability and marketing of alcohol in Ireland to reduce the huge human and economic costs associated with alcohol-related harm is urgent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has made it clear there is ’undisputable’ evidence that the price of alcohol matters and that if the price of alcohol goes up, alcohol-related harm goes down. There is also undisputable evidence that the more readily available alcohol becomes, the greater the harm.

“We need our government to take action on this issue now to prevent future generations of young Irish people suffering from the same high-levels of alcohol-related harm as those who have gone before them.”