Campaigners have welcomed the Government’s decision to put alcohol on equal footing with hard drugs in a new prevention strategy, as recognition of the serious affects of alcohol abuse on Irish society.
Minister John Curran, responsible for the National Drugs Strategy, announced that the Government will include alcohol in a combined substance misuse policy, which will “facilitate a more coherent approach to the issues and consequences of alcohol and illicit drug use.”
Padraig Brady, CEO of the Pioneers said this move was long overdue. “Joined-up thinking on alcohol and drug misuse behind this strategy has been lacking from the previous National Drugs Strategy. The Pioneers have been calling on Government to implement such an initiative which places equal importance on the misuse of both alcohol and illegal drugs”, he told The Irish Catholic.
"This progressive initiative tackles the myth that alcohol misuse is less damaging than drug abuse. Alcohol abuse is one of the most dangerous issues facing Irish society particularly in a time of recession, which brings increased levels of challenge and stress.”
John Taaffe, National Coordinator of the Irish Bishops' Drugs Initiative, welcomed the Government’s initiative as a positive step towards changing “societal attitude and acceptance towards alcohol misuse”.
“We have already done so in other areas, we have changed our attitude towards smoking and drink driving. It would be great to have a vision that in 10 years down the road of being a nation that would not see alcohol as an ordinary commodity, that would look negatively at accepting drunkenness, that we would become aware as a nation of links between consumption levels and ill health, or as a nation see the damage that widespread alcohol marketing and its promotion and availability is having on our societies misuse of alcohol,” Mr Taaffe said.
artice reproduced with kind permission of Irish Catholic