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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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How much does alcohol abuse affect others in Ireland? A lot, says a new report

The harm experienced by people due to their own drinking is only part of the story argues Alcohol Action Ireland.

MORE THAN A quarter of Irish people are harmed by others using alcohol in multiple areas of their lives according to a new report.

The HSE has found that, in five separate indicators they researched, 28 per cent of people were negatively affected by alcohol in more than one of these indicators.

The report, “Alcohol’s harm to others in Ireland”, found that:

  • 13.8 per cent of people have experience family problems.
  • 10.3 per cent have been a passenger with a drunk driver.
  • 8.7 per cent have been the victim of a physical assault.
  • 4.5 per cent reported money problems.
  • 9.1 per cent had their property vandalised.

Gender differences show that more men have been assaulted by others under the influence of alcohol while more women reported family and money problems.

“The harm experienced by people due to their own drinking is only part of the story of alcohol-related problems in Ireland,” according to Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland.

Harms to others from alcohol can range from minor to serious harms, which may be due to a one-off incident or recurring incidents. In particular, it’s a major driver of crime, including assaults and public order offences, and is one of the primary causes of child welfare and protection issues in Ireland.

The report argues that although not often publically visible, alcohol’s harm to others within the family can have very serious consequences for the safety and well-being of family members, with children being the most vulnerable.

“For a child, harmful parental drinking can shape their every moment from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed,” said Costello.

“Issues can include a lack of adequate meals and clean clothes to – at the more serious end of the spectrum – children being physically hurt, emotionally abused or exposed to domestic abuse.”

Workplace

The report goes beyond the home and finds that workplace safety, work strain and employee morale can be affected by alcohol.

This can include “availability of alcohol at work, social networks’ use of alcohol and perceived social network approval of using alcohol around work”.

The report argues that “problem alcohol use can no longer be framed exclusively in the realm of personal responsibility.” Rather, Government policy must take precident.

Something Costello endorses this approach:

We need to regulate the three key areas of alcohol pricing, marketing and availability, and to replace the existing systems of alcohol industry self-regulation, which have proven to be wholly ineffective with regard to public health.

Read the report in full here >

Read: Dublin off licences urged not to sell booze before 4pm on Paddy’s Day >
Read: Cross-party TDs at least agree on one thing, the need to tackle alcohol abuse >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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