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Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm

27th November - 1st December 2023


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FACT #1: Did you know?

Alcohol Industry = A source of Misinformation About Alcohol Harm

Did you know that there is an inherent conflict of interest between the motives of the alcohol industry and our health and well-being? The alcohol industry is a significant source of misinformation about alcohol harm and works to influence alcohol policy globally. The ‘i-Mark initiative: Supporting Independence from Alcohol Industry Influence’ has been developed by the Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network and Alcohol Forum Ireland to reduce the impact that the alcohol industry is having on our lives and those of our children. Most recently, the alcohol industry has been working to oppose the introduction of health warning labels on alcoholic drinks here in Ireland, which undermines your right to know the risks associated with consuming alcohol.

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FACT #2: Did you know?

Alcohol Use is a Risk Factor for Many Neurological Disorders

Alcohol is a neurotoxin – it can cause damage to your brain and nervous system. Alcohol plays a significant role in the onset and course of many neurological disorders including epilepsy, dementia, and alcohol related brain injury. Alcohol is neurotoxic to brain development in adolescence and both parents and young people have a right to know that the adolescent brain has a different and largely greater sensitivity to alcohol than the adult brain and young people should be supported to avoid alcohol during this important stage of brain development.

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FACT #3: Did you know?

There is no Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption in Pregnancy

No amount of alcohol at any stage of your pregnancy is safe. Some people may find it hard to give up alcohol while pregnant, especially for those who drink regularly. Anyone finding it difficult to stop drinking during pregnancy should talk to their GP or midwife. The alcohol industry opposes the introduction of pregnancy health warning labels on alcohol, despite the fact that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are the leading known cause of preventable intellectual disability at a global level. Research also indicates that the alcohol industry is a source of misinformation about the risks and contributes to confusion on this issue. Ireland is estimated to have one of the highest rates of FASD in the world. Health labelling would contribute to raising awareness of the risks. People have a right to know the risks.

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FACT #4: Did you know?

Alcohol is Group 1 Carcinogen

In 1988, the IARC identified alcoholic beverages as a Group 1 carcinogen, with sufficient evidence that they cause cancer in humans. The more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time, the higher the risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer, such as: bowel, oesophagus, throat, mouth, and liver cancer. Alcohol can also increase the levels of some hormones, such as oestrogen, which increases the risk of breast cancer. There is also clear evidence of an increased risk of cancer from light to moderate alcohol consumption. Research has identified three main strategies of the alcohol industry with regard to cancer information on alcohol industry or alcohol industry funded materials; Denial/omission (denying, omitting or disputing the evidence that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk) Distortion (mentioning cancer, but misrepresenting the risk); and Distraction (focussing discussion away from the independent effects of alcohol on common cancers). (Ref. Petticrew et al. Drug and Alcohol Review 2018;37(3):293-303)

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FACT #5: Did you know?

The Sale of Alcohol Bill (2022) will Increase a Range of Alcohol Harms

The Government’s Sale of Alcohol Bill which is currently making its way through the legislative process, proposes a significant liberalisation of alcohol licensing in Ireland, extending opening hours for late bars, significantly extending night club hours (to 6pm, with alcohol being sold until 5am), making it much easier for a range of venues (for example theatres etc) to sell alcohol, removing the limits on the number of licenses and removing some of the current protections relating to children. It also fails to properly regulate rapidly expanding alcohol delivery services and misses the opportunity to increase protections for children and young people in respect to when, where and how alcohol is sold. People have a right to know and to understand the wide range of risks associated with the legislative proposals.

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FACT #6: Did you know?

Alcohol is a Factor in Over 1/3 of Road Fatalities in Ireland

Did you know that alcohol was a factor in over a third of all fatal road traffic collisions in Ireland? Alcohol consumption is a factor in 38% of all deaths on Irish roads. According to the Road Safety Authority Ireland (RSA) this figure rises to 75% between 10pm and 6am. Even in small amounts, alcohol impairs driving ability and as the amount of alcohol in the blood increases, vision and motor skills reduce. Therefore, any amount of alcohol increases the chance of you being involved in a road traffic collision.
As of Midnight 6th November, 2023 the total no. of road fatalities in Ireland was 165. This is an increase of +39 on the same period in 2022 and an increase of +48 compared with the same period for 2019. This is an extremely worrying trend. From 1st January – 24th September 2023, a total of 915 serious injuries were recorded in Ireland by An Garda Siochana and reported in official statistics by the RSA.

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FACT #7: Did you know?

There is a Strong Link between Alcohol, Self-Harm & Suicide

Alcohol is one of the most important risk factors associated with both self-harm & suicide. Among people who die by suicide in Ireland, the proportion of those dependent on alcohol is between 51% to 85%.
Alcohol can contribute to the development of mental health problems and it can worsen pre-existing mental health issues. It can also affect our ability to cope with everyday stresses and difficulties. Alcohol can increase the risk of suicide by increasing impulsivity, changing mood and deepening depression. If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s alcohol consumption,

To find out more about how alcohol effects your mental health How alcohol affects your mental health – HSE.ie. In an emergency, call 112 or 999 if you are worried that someone you know is about to harm themselves’

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