Aiséirí addiction treatment service calls on government not to cut excise duty on alcohol in Budget 2015 as it launches its Annual Report
Aiséirí, one of the country’s leading addiction treatment services, today revealed that it has seen its most significant rise in the numbers of young people and adult women being admitted to its services over the first six months of this year.
Going on admission numbers up to June 2014, Aiséirí could be facing up to a 70% increase in the number of admissions for young people under 21 by the end of the year in comparison to admissions for 2013. For adult women the increase in admissions could be as high as 64 percent. The figures were revealed at the presentation of Aiséiri’s Annual Report for 2013.
Paul Conlon, CEO of Aiséirí, urged the government to resist pressure from the drinks industry to reduce excise duty on alcohol. He called for a much tougher government stance on alcohol with the introduction of minimum pricing and restricted availability of drink as a matter of urgency.
Over the full year of 2013, 119 admissions were made to Aiséirí ‘s specialist adolescent centre. However, by June this year, there had already been 101 admissions to the service. One in three of these young people were aged between 15 and 17. In 2013, 30% of the adult admissions at Aiséirí were women. By June 2014, this was as high as 43% in one centre.
Alcohol is the primary drug of addiction for over 50% of admissions to all Aiséirí centres. In the adult centres, this is as high as 78%.
Aiséirí operates across four centres in the Southeast – Aiséirí Aislinn in Kilkenny, the country’s only dedicated adolescent addiction centre, as well as Aiséirí adult centres in Wexford, Tipperary and Waterford.
“If the price of alcohol goes down, the risk of alcohol harm and addiction goes up, particularly for vulnerable groups like young people and women,“ Conlon said. “It would be irresponsible of the government to introduce anything that would make alcohol cheaper or more accessible. We are seeing the tragic consequences of Ireland’s drink love-in and it is far from being ‘great craic’ for many individuals and families
“We are asking the government to prioritise health over the wealth of the drinks industry,” he continued. “Lowering the price of alcohol by reducing excise, particularly in supermarkets and the off-trade, would greatly increase the risk of alcohol harm and addiction for vulnerable groups in particular young people, who generally have less money and are more likely to binge drink, and women, who are more likely to purchase alcohol at the supermarket. “
Aiséirí is currently on course to see an increase of over 25% in its overall admissions compared to last year. In 2013, there were 444 admissions to the four centres. The first six months of 2014 saw 282 admissions.
Conlon said that the increase in women admissions was worrying as women experience greater health risks from alcohol than men and the onset of alcohol related health problems begins earlier.
One in four deaths in young men aged from 15 to 34 is due to alcohol. Between 1995 and 2015, liver disease rates are on course to quadruple in Ireland with the greatest level of increase among 15 to 34 year olds (Royal College of Physicians of Ireland).
Alcohol-related harm costs the tax-payer an estimated €3.7 billion every year in health, crime and other related costs.
For more information contact:
Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207