'Govt must act on alcohol crisis'

Alcohol Action Ireland has called on the Government to to finally tackle our harmful relationship with alcohol.

It wants to Government to implement the recommendations to reduce alcohol-related harm it is currently considering without further delay.

"The recommendations of the steering group on the National Substance Misuse Strategy, which have been subsequently brought forward by Minister Alex White, effectively represent a blueprint for changing our harmful relationship with alcohol," said Suzanne Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action.

Alcohol Action says the recommendations, taken together, provide a practical and achievable means to bring about a positive change in our country's relationship with alcohol.

However, it points out that more than 1,700 Irish people have died from alcohol-related illnesses since the strategy was published in February 2012.

"It's clear that we can no longer afford the human or economic costs associated with our high levels of alcohol-related harm and we need to tackle the three key areas of the pricing, marketing and availability of alcohol if we are to save lives and reduce the massive financial burden on the State, Ms Costello said.

Alcohol Action says the introduction of minimum pricing and addressing the structural separation of alcohol are vital if the range of measures being considered by the Government is to work.

"Alcohol has never been as cheap or as widely available as it is now. We need to ensure that it is no longer sold at pocket-money prices and as if it were just another everyday household item or grocery, not a substance with the potential to cause great harm," Ms Costello said.


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