Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Tuesday, 13 July) notes the publication of the Health Research Board’s Bulletin Reporting of the 2014 – 2020 Alcohol Treatment Data.
This data highlights yet again the completely inadequate provision of timely alcohol treatment services in Ireland. On July 1st, the publication of the 2019-20 Irish National Drug and Alcohol Survey by the Health Research Board, outlined the prevalence of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the general population was found to be 14.8%, corresponding to one in every seven or 578,000 adults in Ireland.
Today’s alcohol treatment data, while acknowledging an under reporting by the providers, shows that only 2,490 new presentations for treatment received a service in 2020.
International norms suggest that any one time, one in ten of those experiencing alcohol use disorders will seek assistance; in Ireland that figure could be as high as 57,800 people annually, yet today’s data highlights that only 4% are likely to get any treatment. This leaves thousands of our citizens abandoned to a life captured by alcohol.
Commenting on the data published, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications | Advocacy said:
These figures highlight the national crisis that exists across every community in Ireland where people, who are the victims of Ireland’s most common drug, seemingly have no place to turn. The services that do exist are limited by resources and under enormous strain, yet nobody seems willing to recognise the scale of our problem.
Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action said:
Our survey report on ‘Alcohol Treatment Services’ proposes a series of recommendation but crucially we highlighted the urgent need for a revised specific national strategy on alcohol treatment. Emerging out of the experience with COVID-19, our view, mindful of the significant shift that has taken place in our drinking patterns from the pub into our homes, is that these services are going to experience a tsunami of demand. This was well observed in the Department of Health’s own report survey of ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Drug and Alcohol Services and People who use Drugs in Ireland’. Coherent action is now required to ensure adequate services are established.