Minister warns over alcohol abuse

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From The Irish Times

Minister of State for Health Alex White has said changes are required at community level if Ireland is to tackle alcohol abuse.

The Minister was speaking at the launch at Dolphin House, Rialto, Dublin, of a strategic planning document created by the Canal Communities Local Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce. The taskforce, set up in 1997 and serving the communities of Rialto, Inchicore and Bluebell, assists those addicted to drugs and alcohol, their families and communities.

Mentioning sports sponsorship by drinks companies and the proliferation of outlets selling alcohol, Mr White said while “we have an intuitive sense that it is wrong”, working out solutions wasn’t easy. It was “very difficult to engineer social or personal change exclusively through a change in law”.

He said there were measures communities could take. “If the community can demand the need for change and demonstrate that change is possible in the same manner it demonstrated this in relation to illegal drugs, then this certainly will make the job of policy makers a lot easier.”

Chairman of the Canal Communities Task Force Barry Cullen said despite some gains for the canal communities, “problems arising from alcohol have deepened and persist”.