New data compiled from the hospital in-patient reporting system has confirmed the impact of alcohol consumption on our health system.
This report clearly illustrates how Irish peoples’ drinking patterns are harming their health, increasing public health care costs and negatively impacting productivity.
For example, in 2013 alcohol consumption was responsible for three deaths every day.
The report also highlights that the rate of alcoholic liver disease trebled between 1995 and 2013. The fact the highest rate of increase was found in 15-34 year olds is a real public health concern as alcoholic liver disease usually develops after a number of years of harmful drinking, and as a result it is normally seen in older people.
The number of people discharged from hospital whose condition was totally attributable to alcohol rose by 82% between 1995 and 2013, from 9,420 to 17,120.
Between 2008 and 2013, 69% of alcohol-related deaths were due to medical causes (such as liver disease), 16% were due to poisonings and 15% traumatic causes (such as a road traffic collision). This indicates that one death per day is due to poisoning or trauma and two deaths are due to chronic conditions.
Alcohol- related discharges cost the tax-payer €1.5 billion. That is equal to €1 for every €10 spent on public health.
I have called on the Minister to progress the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. Minimum pricing will help because there is a clear correlation between the price of alcohol and the amount people drink. Addressing price would be a step in the right direction.