Alcohol-related harm costs us €3.7bn yearly

From the Wicklow People

A 27-STRONG coalition is now backing minimum pricing including St Patrick’s University Hospital, the Samaritans, The Irish Medical Organisation, The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland – Public Health Faculty, The ISPCC, The Irish Heart Foundation, The National Youth Council of Ireland, The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland, Barnardos, St Vincent de Paul, Mental Health Ireland, Foroige, Women’s Aid, The Rise Foundation and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Alcohol Action Ireland Director Fiona Ryan said, ‘ Twenty seven national charities, community and medical representative organisations support the call for minimum pricing with many of these organisations dealing with the realities of alcohol-related harm in communities, families, the health system and on the streets on a daily basis. What we need to remember, however, is that this is not a minority call – three out of five people want the Government to tackle alcohol pricing with the majority of these in the parenting age group.

‘ The World Health Organisation has stated that price matters and is one of the most effective policy interventions a Government can take to reduce alcohol-related harm because of the inextricable link between alcohol consumption and pricing.

‘A recent conference ‘ Time Please…’ heard evidence from Canada about how minimum pricing has worked.

‘ The Health Research Board who commissioned research on attitudes to alcohol pricing and other aspects of alcohol marketing found that three out of four people supported a 9pm watershed for alcohol ads while 70 per cent supported banning alcohol advertising on social media.’

Ms Ryan cautioned against viewing young people as the only people in Ireland for whom alcohol use was a problem. ‘ The title of this conference was Time Please… for Change and it is time for change because we can no longer afford the alternative in financial and human costs. Alcohol-related harm costs this country an estimated  €3.7 billion a year –  €1.2 billion a year being spent on alcoholrelated health costs and  €1.19 billion being spent on alcohol-related crime costs.’