A report published by the HSE National Social Inclusion Office shows that more than half of adults in Ireland drink at a harmful level, with the majority of people reporting that they would not know where to get help with an alcohol problem.
The report entitled ‘Alcohol Treatment Services in Ireland: How the public view them’ sets out to establish how the public view alcohol treatment services in Ireland.
Members of the public were asked a series of questions relating to alcohol screening and services, including their knowledge of the availably and adequacy of treatment and support services in their area.
The study found that 60% of people were unaware that alcohol treatment services were available in their area and only 27% of respondents were aware that help was available for children and individuals who experience problems because of someone else’s drinking.
People were also requested to give their opinion on being asked about their drinking when they are in different health care settings, including hospitals, maternity hospitals and general practice. There was a high level of public support for this, indicating that people are looking for the health services to be proactive in asking about drinking patterns in these settings.
Speaking about the report, Aoife Davey, HSE National Social Inclusion Office, said: “The two major findings in this study are that there is strong public support for alcohol screening but that the majority of people are unaware of alcohol treatment services in local areas. We are currently responding to this by providing screening and brief interventions in health care settings with referrals for chronic abuse.
The report recommended that the effective delivery of alcohol screening and brief interventions to harmful drinkers will significantly reduce alcohol-related harm in Ireland and that alcohol screening should extend beyond the doctor’s office.
The report also concluded that an information campaign on where and how to access alcohol treatment services would be useful, as would the promotion of the ‘National Directory of Drugs and Alcohol Services’ on drugs.ie.
Aoife Davey concluded: ‘The forthcoming HSE website and health information campaign on alcohol and alcohol harm in 2017 will help inform the public about alcohol harm, impacts on health and wellbeing, low-risk levels of consumption, and how and where to access services.”
Video interview with report author Dr Joe Barry