Public Health Expert Warns that 1 in 2 Adults in Ireland Binge Drinks Alcohol Every Week
East Meath Pioneers Temperance Mission
54% of adults in Ireland binge drink at least once a week to make us one of the EU’s biggest binge drinking countries says Navan-based Dr. Declan Bedford, public health and medicine specialist and guest speaker at East Meath's Pioneer Total Abstanance Associations' Temperance Mission which takes place on Wednesday 21 April at 8pm in St Ann’s Church, Navan, Co Meath.
Trends in Ireland’s consumption of alcohol show that we have a high level of alcohol intake with 70% of men having a damaging drinking habit and one that requires attention. Ireland’s high alcohol consumption level takes a high toll in alcohol related harm with 34% of those seeking legal advice due to marital breakdown citing alcohol as the main cause, 31% of road deaths are alcohol related while every 8th new patient attending A/E is there because of alcohol related injury.
Commenting in advance of the Pioneer Mission Dr Bedford said:
"As a people we have increased our alcohol consumption to such a degree that we see the harm it is causing us every day. If we do not act now the harm will increase and the harm will be greatest on our children".
Dr Bedford recommends that among the strategies required to counter Ireland’s high alcohol consumption include the need for alcohol to be viewed as a legitimate public health concern and not just as an industry. In his talk Dr.Bedford will call for the introduction of tax on cheaper alcohol products sold by the larger supermarkets. He will also argue for a minimum price on alcohol in particular for off license sales and a decrease in the number of premises available to sell alcohol. It is also essential that we reduce the alcohol legal limit for driving.
Commenting for the East Meath Region of the Pioneers, Margaret Brady, secretary and PRO said:
“The Pioneer Association is delighted to have Dr. Bedford as guest speaker at thieir April Mission. Alcohol abuse and its related harm continues to be a critical issue for Irish society not least when we are in recession. All are welcome to attend our event -Pioneer and non-Pioneer alike. Given Dr Bedford's exceptional professional research and work in the area of alcohol and drug abuse we in the Pioneers are honoured to have such a distinguished guest speaker. We are confident that members of the public who attend Dr Bedford's talk will find it useful and informative.”
The forthcoming Mission is the third the East Meath Region has organised. Previous guest speakers were John Lonergan, the Governor of Mountjoy Prison and Jesuit Fr. Peter McVerry, SJ. The East Meath Region hope to host a further Temperance Mission during the autumn.
Dr. Declan Bedford is a Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Acting Director of Public Health based in Navan Co Meath. Work interests include injury prevention, and alcohol related harm. Dr Bedford was a member of the Department of Health and Children’s Strategic Task Force on Alcohol (2004) and the Government Alcohol Advisory Group (2008). He has undertaken and published research in a range of topics including alcohol, tobacco, suicide, drug use, deliberate self harm and men’s health.