Alcohol in Ireland: An Overview


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Presentation by Fiona Ryan, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, at a seminar held in conjunction with Depaul Ireland on March 13, 2013.

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Alcohol in Ireland: An Overview

  1. 1. Fiona RyanAlcohol Action Alcohol in Ireland: An Overview
  2. 2.  Established in 2003/ work to create awareness of alcohol- related harm and solutions need to reduce that harm Run and Steering group of National Substance Misuse Strategy Campaign: minimum pricing – 30 strong NGO coalition in support Campaign: children affected by parental alcohol problems
  3. 3.  Alcohol consumption in Ireland increased by 46% between 1987 (9.8 litres) and 2001 (14.3 litres) Alcohol consumption in 2011-2012 was around 11.6 litres – the equivalent of every person aged 15+ drinking over 42 bottles of vodka One in five adults do not drink alcohol If every drinker aged 18+ drank to their maximum low-risk weekly limits, every week of the year, consumption levels would be approx 9 litres
  4. 4.  Over half of all Irish drinkers report harmful patterns of drinking; 4 out of 10 women drinkers and 7 out of 10 men who drink. (Alcohol Use in Ireland, SLAN 2007) ESPAD 2011 survey (average age 15): One in four schoolchildren reported being drunk in the past month, this being the third highest rate of drunkenness of the 35 countries. Report from Department of Children/ State of the Nation’s Children/ quotes HBSC 2010/ small decline in children first trying drinking but numbers getting drunk consistent with ESPAD
  5. 5.  Every seven hours, someone in Ireland dies from an alcohol- related illness: there are almost twice as many deaths due to alcohol as due to all other drugs combined Alcoholic liver disease deaths almost trebled (188% increase) between 1995 and 2009. Figures also reveal considerable increases of alcohol liver disease among younger age groups  Among 15-34 years olds, the rate of ALD discharges increased by 275%, while for the 35-49 age group, the rate increased by 227%  These increases suggests we are starting to see the effects of the large increases in alcohol consumption up to 2003 Alcohol-related admissions to acute hospitals doubled between 1995 and 2008
  6. 6. The burden of most acute alcoholrelated problems arises frompeople who drink heavily onoccasion Health care costs = €1.2bn Criminal justice = €1.2bn Road collisions = €526m Lost output due to work absences = €330mTo the taxpayer = €3,318To the shopper - cheap alcohol canbe subsidised by increasingprice of other goods
  7. 7.  1 in 11 children living with parental alcohol problems One third of domestic abuse cases involve alcohol Almost half of perpetrators of homicide intoxicated 1 in 11 people said they or family member had been assaulted by person drinking
  8. 8.  1 in 11 children living with parental alcohol problems: enough children to fill Croke Park One in 7 kids in care due to parental substance misuse problems One in 9 kids witnessed parental conflict due to alcohol during childhood
  9. 9.  Problems for parents are problems for children Parental alcohol problems can and do cause serious harm to children Children often suffer the impacts of parental alcohol and drug problems long before their parent’s health suffers Each dependent user of alcohol will negatively effect the lives of two other close family members
  10. 10. One in eleven Irish children say parental drinking has a negative effect on their lives – that’s 109,684 children (ISPCC, 2010)A nationally representative survey of 18-40 year olds found that when parents drank weekly or more often:  14% said they often felt afraid or unsafe as a result of their parents’ drinking  14% said they often witnessed conflict between their parents either when they were drinking or as a result of their drinking  11% said they often had to take responsibility for a parent or a sibling  Impact did not differ according to socio-economic class (Alcohol Action Ireland Keeping It In the Family Survey, 2009)
  11. 11.  Isolation Fear and Anxiety Conflict in the Home Children take on Parental Responsibilities Abuse and Neglect PovertyTrauma and distress result when “caregivers not only fail to provide comfort at times of extreme stress, but are themselves the principal source of that stress”
  12. 12.  “They care more about drink than their children.” “When they are drunk they are in fighting mood.” “He hits me in my sleep when he drinks.” “It puts you off your work in school as you’re thinking about it.” “I don’t get to go anywhere or have fun the next day because I’m minding my brothers.” “It upsets me sometimes – I’m scared at times as well.”
  13. 13. 11 committees, 15 reports  1990 Working Group on Alcohol Policy  1996 National Alcohol Policy  1996 Oireachtas Committee on Licensing  2000 Commission on Liquor Licensing  2002 Strategic Task Force on Alcohol  Oireachtas Committees on Health, Arts, Sports  2005 Sustaining Progress  2007 Government Advisory Group on Alcohol  2009 Working Group on Sports Sponsorship by the Alcohol Industry  2011 National Substance Misuse Strategy  2011 Oireachtas Committee on Health
  14. 14.  Successive Irish governments have consistently pursued policies shown to be ineffective in reducing alcohol-related harms and costs No national alcohol policy Pricing  Abolition of Groceries Order 2006  Only three increases in excise since 1994  Budget 201o cut excise on alcohol by 20%  Budget 2013 restored it/ additional increase on wine Availability  Increased opening hours  Free movement of licences
  15. 15.  Establish a Clinical Directorate to develop the clinical and organisational governance framework to underpin treatment and rehabilitation services Develop early intervention guidelines for alcohol and substance use across all relevant sectors of the health and social care system. This will include a national screening and brief intervention protocol for early identification of problem alcohol use
  16. 16.  Increase the price of alcohol so that it becomes less affordable Introduce legislative basis for minimum pricing, along with a ‘social responsibility’ levy on the drinks industry Commence Section 9 (structural separation of alcohol from other products in supermarkets, etc) of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 Introduce legislation and statutory codes to provide for:  a 9.00 p.m. watershed for alcohol advertising on television and radio  alcohol advertising in cinemas to only be associated with films classified as being suitable for over-18s  prohibition of all outdoor advertising of alcohol  all alcohol advertising in the print media to be subject to stringent codes, enshrined in legislation and independently monitored
  17. 17. 12. Develop comprehensive outcomes and evidence based approach toaddressing needs of children and families experiencing alcohol dependencyproblems. This would involve a whole family approach, including the provisionof supports and services directly to children where necessaryThis approach should be guided by and co-ordinated with all existing strategiesrelating to parenting, children and families and in accordance with edicts fromthe Office for the Minister for Children and the Child & Family Agency13. Explore extent of parental problem substance use through the developmentof a strategy similar to Hidden Harm in Northern Ireland and respond to theneeds of children by bringing together all concerned organisations and services14. Develop family support services
  18. 18.  Widespread opposition in Government to advertising and sponsorship restrictions Minimum pricing has been progressing in Scotland and England – to mixed success Department of Justice deliberating on Section 9 Department of Health will draft an action plan and this will be submitted Cabinet for approval