Figures reveal shock cost of binge drinking

Shocking figures reveal that more than €4 million was spent in one year alone to treat binge drinkers and other people with alcohol problems at UHG.

From The Connacht Tribune

Additional costs associated with Emergency Department attendance and outpatient services pushed the actual financial burden on the hospital “substantially higher”.

At two information sessions, due to be held in UHG on Wednesday, A&E and acute care staff will be presented with the findings of the Galway Healthy Cities Alcohol Strategy – a five-year plan that aims to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm through a community action approach.

The study found that alcohol was a factor in nearly half of all cases of deliberate self-harm for UHG in 2012 – higher than the national average.

And, a higher proportion of patients aged between 18-29 presented themselves to A&E departments in the Galway and Sligo area, in comparison to other sites around the country.

A specialist in local addiction services told the Galway City Tribune yesterday that the HSE has been attempting to brush the problem ’under the carpet’, by failing to invest in critical care – both through facilities and personnel.

“To deny its existence is,” he said. “I’d make the comment that in the area of self harm, would the vast majority have done it if they were not heavily intoxicated?

“There has been an increase in domestic violence, right across the board – money has finally run out. The COPE”ˆwomen’s refuge near the Courthouse is full to capacity – (the violence is) fuelled by the availability of cheap alcohol, which is disturbing.”