Alcohol bill will 'change attitudes', say doctors

The Royal College of Physicians says the passage of the Public Health Alcohol Bill will help ease the frontline pressures on the health service.

It says there are three deaths per day due to alcohol abuse in Ireland and up to 1,500 beds are taken up in hospitals every night due to drinking.

Alcohol products will now include health warnings under the legislation and there will be restrictions on how drink companies sponsor sporting events.

Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland Chairman Professor Frank Murray believes attitudes will change due to the warnings.

"I think health warnings on alcohol will certainly help to change attitudes towards alcohol," said Prof Murray.

I think in Ireland we have a slightly reckless attitude towards it. We tend to overestimate the benefits and underestimate the risks. As a consequence we see so many people dying, ill in hospital and so many families damaged.

He added that the cost of 1,500 beds is "much bigger than the trolley crisis".

"If we didn't have alcohol contributing to ill health here in Ireland we wouldn't have a trolley crisis because the scale of the alcohol problem is so great.

"Alcohol occupies about 1,500 hospital beds a night as well as costing about €4bn per year to the exchequer."

Digital Desk

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