Minister for Health Addresses Third National Alcohol Forum Conference

ALCOHOL FORUM CONF

Government to make €1m Available to Raise Awareness About Alcohol-related Harm
 
Conference Addressed Alcohol and Marketing, Pregnancy and Liver Disease

The Alcohol Forum’s third annual Conference, ‘The Best Available Evidence’ was officially opened this morning by Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, TD.  Part of ‘Action on Alcohol Week’ and supported by the HSE, the Conference is examining how communities can tackle the alcohol problem and the role that marketing plays in influencing behaviour towards alcohol amongst young people in Ireland.

Opening the Conference, Minister Varadkar said: “Ireland has a serious problem – we drink too much alcohol. When we drink, we tend to binge drink. More than half of adult drinkers in the population are classified as harmful drinkers. Our aim is to reduce alcohol consumption to the OECD average and reduce binge drinking. The Government is tacking this with the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which is the first ever public health legislation on alcohol and among the most far-reaching in Europe. It will bring in minimum unit pricing to tackle cheap booze, structural separation in stores to reduce availability and visibility, health and calorie labelling to give people more information about the risks they are taking and also marketing and advertising restrictions.

“I’m also happy to confirm that €1 million is being made available under the Dormant Accounts Action Plan, which will allow grants of €41,600 to be made available to every one of the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces to raise awareness about alcohol-related harm, and to change attitudes.”

ALCOHOL FORUM CONF
Speaking at the conference CEO of Alcohol Forum, Kieran Doherty said, “Over consumption of alcohol affects the economy, local communities and families across the country and can be directly attributed to around 88 deaths a month.  Our conference is examining the relationship people have with alcohol and how communities throughout the country play a pivotal role in tackling the problem.”

Keynote speakers at the Conference include marketing expert and Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Behaviour and Society, David Jernigan Ph.D.  David also teaches courses on media advocacy and alcohol policy in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.  He exploree the topic “Alcohol Marketing and Youth: Global Evidence and Community Responses.”

Dr Thomas Babor, Professor and Chairman in the Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut School of Medicine explored the ‘Evidenced-based Solutions for Alcohol-related Problems in the Community.  Dr Ann Hope from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Trinity College discussed what communities can do to tackle our alcohol problem.

ALCOHOL FORUM CONF

Registered nurse and midwife, Evelyn Smith focussed on ‘Evidenced based practice for alcohol and pregnancy within the health sector.’  Dr Stephen Stewart, Consultant Hepatologist in the Mater Private discussed liver disease and BT Young Scientist winners Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy presented their award-winning project on the impact of drinking in the home on youth behaviours.

The Alcohol Forum’s Conference is taking place as part of Action on Alcohol Week which occurs throughout the country from 20th – 24th April 2015. The Conference is open to the public as well as members of the local authorities, charities, community and voluntary groups, treatment service providers, schools, colleges, businesses and members of the medical profession.

For further information on the Alcohol Forum Conference and Action on Alcohol Week visit:  www.alcoholforum.org | www.alcoholireland.ie | www.rcpi.ie | www.drugs.ie.