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The consumption of alcohol in Ireland is a concern to public health and a leading cause of national suffering. Of explicit concern are the social effects and health issues correlated with its use. Ireland has a unique relationship with alcohol, with consumption per capita being sixth highest among 36 Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development countries, as well as being a considerable amount higher than that of USA and UK.
In 2012, a study took place in University College Cork to investigate the widespread presence of hazardous alcohol consumption among students in university. This study reported that only 8.4% of men and 5.8% of women did not drink. It also highlighted the prevalence of hazardous alcohol consumption of 66.4% with more than a quarter of these hazardous drinkers consuming more than six units of alcohol at least 2–3 times per week.
This poses a serious threat to the health of Irish students in university and creates both long term and short term risks to mental, physical and social health and well-being.
The uncovering from this study emphasise the need for more adverse measures of public policy in response to this issue such as a raise in the unit price for alcohol and rethinking permission sports sponsorship by companies that produce alcoholic beverages.
Between 1995 and 2004, 28% of all attendances to the Accidents and Emergency departments all over Ireland were alcohol related. This figure portrays the damage that alcohol can do to peoples’ health in the short term, and not just long term. The long term effects of the consumption of alcohol can be causally related to various different forms of cancer such as cancer in the oesophagus, colon, head and neck, rectum and liver.
A nationwide study of young adults, between the ages of 18 and 45, on Irish contraception and crisis pregnancy, showed that 45% of men and 26% of women agreed that drinking alcohol had contributed to them taking part in sexual without using contraception, which may lead to unplanned pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases.
The over-use of alcohol in Ireland is a national concern as can cause serious health problems in many different ways, be it through accidents that occur at fault of people that are under the influence of alcohol, the physical, mental and social effects which may have serious consequences or through unplanned and unprotected sex, leading to STD’s. As well as costing the health of thousands of Irish people every year, the abuse of alcohol costs the HSE millions.,‘Binge drinking, apart from any long-term effects, can increase impulsivity, reduce inhibition and distort behaviour, which may lead to acute consequences such as accidents, assaults or suicide. There is a pressing need to introduce strategies that will reduce the harmful use of alcohol in Ireland and, by extension, the health and social harms it causes.’
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