Drinking up across the board; 'unsustainable burden on health service'

The amount of alcohol Irish people consume increased by almost 5% last year.

Per capita figures show people aged 15+ in Ireland now consume 11.5 litres of pure alcohol a year.

They show people are drinking more spirits and cider in particular but increases were recorded in all categories of alcohol:

    • Spirits +8.9%
    • Cider +8.5%
    • Wine +6.2%
    • Beer +3.7%

Conor Cullen from Alcohol Action Ireland says it shows the need for more legislation.

“International evidence reflects that the higher the average level of alcohol consumption in the population, the higher the levels of alcohol harm will be in that country. In Ireland, the harmful effect of our high level of consumption is worsened by our unhealthy drinking patterns, particularly the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking."

“This harmful drinking has a huge impact on our nation’s physical and mental health, causing the loss of three lives due to alcohol every day, while the damage extends far beyond those individuals doing the harmful drinking and is contributing to serious problems in many areas of life in Ireland, including child welfare, road safety, and crime.

"It is also placing an unsustainable burden on our health service, due to large number of serious alcohol-related illnesses and injuries," said Mr Cullen.

“Reducing alcohol consumption is the key reducing alcohol harm throughout society and we have an opportunity to begin to tackle our harmful relationship with alcohol through the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

"It is beyond time that the Government acted to prioritise the health and wellbeing of its citizens over the objections of vested interests.”

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