Alcohol Industry Muddy Waters
Letter to the Irish Times
Sir, – I refer to the letter from the alcohol industry-funded Drinkaware (“Assessing alcohol data is a complex task”, May 16th).
The letter is typical of the strategy of undermining or diverting attention away from effective public health measures which 30 years of global evidence clearly support.
Significant omissions relate to the impact that price, availability and advertising of alcohol have on both drinking patterns and levels of consumption.
There is no mention of the measures contained in the Public Health Alcohol Act, and no call to Government to bring forward the measures contained therein around cancer and pregnancy warning labels.
The reality is that alcohol is a group one carcinogen which increases the risk of seven different types of cancer.
Cancer warning labels would be an important step forward in recognising that the public has a right to know.
Irish people also have a right to know that a Drinkaware Alcohol education programme is being delivered in many Irish schools, despite the fact that the HSE, the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Skills all recommend that schools do not involve alcohol industry-funded initiatives in our schools.
Parents have a right to know, and schools have a responsibility to ensure that this is no longer happening.
One of the ways of empowering the “positive behaviour change” that Drinkaware recommends in its recent correspondence would be to raise awareness about the impact that the products and practices of the alcohol industry are having on our health and wellbeing.
To focus on the behaviours of individuals without focusing on the behaviours of the industry is nothing short of a distraction. –
PAULA LEONARD, Alcohol Forum Ireland, Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network Letterkenny Co. Donegal