Oireachtas Committee must look at preventative measures to combat negative lifestyle choices
Cork South Central Fine Gael TD, Jerry Buttimer, has described as worrying the findings of the Health Research Board on trends in alcohol related deaths. The report uses the data contained in the National Drug Related Death Index to examine the trends in alcohol related deaths.
“The worrying extent of the impact of alcohol has been revealed by the first national report on trends in alcohol related death. The report shows that such deaths occur in all age groups, from teenagers to the elderly.
“Almost half of the alcohol-only poisoning deaths recorded in the report occurred in the 40 to 54 age group. Two thirds of the cases were male. While alcohol is a factor in deaths in all age groups, its fatal effects are most evident in middle aged men.
“The report states that in 2009 the average adult in Ireland drank 11.9 litres of pure alcohol, double what was consumed in 1960. Clearly there has been a change in our social habits with such an increase in alcohol consumption. The stark reality of this change is brought into focus by this report. It clearly shows that as a society we need to look at our lifestyle habits.
“We must ensure that those who are already suffering from the side-effects of excessive alcohol consumption are provided with the appropriate health care. We must also develop lifestyle awareness initiatives to show the effects which excessive use of alcohol can have and to encourage social choices which are not alcohol dependent. Through education and awareness we can reduce the consumption of alcohol and hopefully in turn this will reduce the number of alcohol related deaths.
“At the next meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Health Committee I will request that one of the working areas for the Committee should be steps to reduce the impact on health of lifestyle choices. These issues do not only result in alcohol related deaths, they can also be causes of obesity and type-2 diabetes. The Health Committee should not only focus on treatment but we must also look at preventative measures.”