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Irish are second biggest drinkers in the world

Ireland has the second highest level of alcohol consumption per capita in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.

The shameful statistics come against a rise in alcohol-related illnesses and deaths.

Top of the table for per capita drinking is Luxembourg (15.6 litres per capita) and we are not far behind at 13.7 litres.

Next is Hungary (13.6 litres), Moldova (13.2 litres), Czech Republic (13.0 litres), Croatia (12.3 litres) and Germany (12.0 litres).

We are ahead of Russia (10.3 litres) -- where alcohol-related deaths have reportedly cut the average life expectancy for men to 59 years -- and also the United States (8.6 litres).

It remains to be seen if one of the upsides of this recession will be a fall in drinking as more Irish people re-evaluate their lifestyles, values and finances.

Findings from the Health Research Board reveal the effects of over consumption, with the number of people seeking treatment for problem alcohol use increasing.

A total of 16,020 cases, aged between 15 and 64 years, were treated for problem alcohol use in Ireland between 2004 and 2006.

The number of new cases treated for alcohol as their main problem drug rose by 21pc, from 2,827 in 2004 to 3,432, in 2006.

The number of cases who returned for treatment also rose from 2,029 cases in 2004 to 2,110 in 2006. This gives an indication of people who have a chronic alcohol abuse problem.

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But these figures also represent an underestimate because not all those providing treatment services are included in the information data.

There are yet more frightening statistics showing the number of alcohol-related deaths in Ireland has doubled in recent years.

It is estimated that 1,775 people died as a result of problem alcohol use between 1995 and 2004. The number of alcohol-related injuries also rose by nearly 90pc, while overall consumption levels were up 17pc.

Young women in particular are putting themselves at risk, with under-18s making up almost half of all women discharged from hospital following alcohol-related incidents.

The National Youth Council has called for the introduction of legislation providing a statutory code to restrict alcohol advertising to young people.

  • For the first time in Ireland, women can now seek treatment for their alcohol or drug problems in a residential centre, Ashleigh House, run by the Coolmine centre in Dublin.

Ashleigh House has accommodation for their children also and professional childcare is provided to allow their mother work on recovery. For further information www.coolmine.ie. Phone 01 8420700.

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