The harm related to alcohol use is one of the key public health challenges faced by Northern Ireland, Health Minister Robin Swann has warned.
The Minister was speaking following the publication of the latest alcohol-specific death statistics from NISRA which show that in 2019 336 people died from alcohol-specific causes here. www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/alcohol-specific-deaths-2009-2019
Minister Swann said: “These figures serve as a stark reminder of the real harm that alcohol can cause bringing heart breaking consequences for individuals, families and communities right across Northern Ireland.
“Each one of these deaths is preventable and I want to put on record my condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in such tragic circumstances.
“It is vital that as a society we do more to prevent and reduce the harm that alcohol causes.
“My Department’s new Draft Alcohol and Drug Strategy for Northern Ireland is presently out for consultation (www.health-ni.gov.uk/SUS-consultation). I would encourage everyone – but especially those affected by alcohol and drug use – to consider the strategy and respond to it to help us improve what we are doing to reduce alcohol and drug related deaths.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride added: “Alcohol is not an ordinary product, if we drink too much we can put ourselves and those around us at risk of harm.
“We need to continue to challenge our own and other people’s drinking behaviours at both an individual and a population-wide level.
“We are also mindful of the impact of COVID-19 and reports that people may be drinking more at home during periods of lockdown. Now is a good time to reflect on how much alcohol you are consuming and, if appropriate, to reduce drinking to improve your physical and mental wellbeing.”