HSE Publishes Detailed Review of Alcohol Consumption Rates and Related Harms

Almost half of all perpetrators of homicide were intoxicated, while alcohol related hospital discharges increased by 92%

21st April 2008

The Health Service Executive (HSE), today, Monday 21st April, published a detailed review entitled "Alcohol Related Harm in Ireland." The report outlines the recent rising trends in alcohol consumption rates, the harmful effects these rates are having on the user and the damaging results they have on other people.


The report provides an overview of recent studies into alcohol consumption, assesses the most up to date research into their effects and offers recommendations on how best to reduce the unhealthiest consequences.


Some of the key findings of the report include:

Alcohol Related Harm to the Drinker:

  • 28% of all injury attendances in Accident and Emergency Departments in acute hospitals were alcohol related;
  • Alcohol related hospital discharges, which is an indicator of attendance, increased by 92% between 1995 and 2002;
  • Cancer of the liver had the highest increase in cancer incidence rates in comparison to all cancers between 1994-2003;
  • Almost half of men and over a quarter of women agreed that drinking alcohol had contributed to them having sex without contraception;
  • Between 1995 and 2004, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) increased by 217%;
  • Alcohol is a contributory factor in 36.5% of all fatal crashes;
  • Between 1996 and 2002, public order adult offences increased by 247% (from 16,284 to 56,822) followed by a decrease in 2003 and 2004 but increased again in 2005;


Alcohol Related Harm to Others:

  • Almost half (46%), of those who committed homicide were intoxicated at the time;
  • Between 1990 and 2006, 2,462 people were killed on the roads between 9pm-4am, the time most associated with alcohol related driving;
  • 44% of all respondents had experienced harm by their own or someone else's alcohol use;
  • In a quarter of severe domestic abuse cases, alcohol was involved;
  • The Coombe Women's Hospital found that 63% of women reported alcohol use during pregnancy, with 7% drinking 6 or more drinks per week;
  • IBEC cited that alcohol related illness was cited by 12% of companies as a cause of short-term absence from work for males and 4% for females;


Dr Joe Barry, HSE Population Health Directorate, said; "This report shows that alcohol related harm is not only confined to the negative consequences experienced by the drinker, such as illness and disease, but extends to others as well, which too often can lead to physical injury or even death. Inevitably, this also causes strain on health services and its staff who have to divert resources to treat avoidable alcohol related injuries and conditions."


"The HSE provides a wide range of responses, from hospital and primary care services, through to specific alcohol and drug initiatives and public awareness and education campaigns. However, improvements in alcohol related harms in Ireland will require a sustained multi-sectoral response."


The report is available at the link below


For further information contact
Daniel English, HSE Press and Media Relations Office, 01 635 2836, 087 6949926

Last updated on: 21 / 04 / 2008