Drink abuse no longer minority issue

The abuse of alcohol can no longer be "dismissed" as a problem suffered by a minority of drinkers, according to Alex White, the junior health minister.

Drink abuse no longer minority issue

He declined to say when exactly promised legislation on alcohol would be published, but did confirm that a committee on alcohol advertising and sponsorship would report by year’s end.

Mr White, who has responsibility for the Government’s alcohol strategy, was responding to the findings of a household survey conducted by the Health Research Board.

It found that more than half of Irish drinkers — almost 1.4m people — consume alcohol in a “harmful” manner. However, 98% described themselves as “light or moderate drinkers”.

The report said 75% of all alcohol consumed was taken in binge-drinking sessions.

“The results confirm that alcohol is causing significant damage across the population, in workplaces and to children in families and carries a substantial burden to all in Irish society,” Mr White told the Irish Examiner.

“The abuse of alcohol in Ireland can no longer be dismissed as a problem suffered by a minority of drinkers.”

He said policies targeting the entire population — including those not regularly in contact with the health services — are needed.

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