Alcohol consumption iscommonly associated with social settings as a part of many cultures throughoutthe world. One might consume alcohol in a controlled manner at gatherings,business parties, weddings, and school functions, just to name a few. However, the misuse of alcohol, where alcoholis consumed in a harmful manner such as drinking until drunk or binge drinking,threatens the individual’s health and in turn, may lead to death.
Ethanol,which is the chemical used in the manufacturing of alcoholic beverages, is asedative drug that is easily absorbed into the bloodstream through thegastrointestinal tract (Perry et al.,2017). Perry et al. (2017) found that short-termeffects of alcohol consumption ranged from a slight loss in functional abilityand distorted vision and hearing in impaired drinkers; whereas, intoxicateddrinkers exhibited slurred speech, complete loss of manual dexterity, potentialvomiting, diarrhea, and unconsciousness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Status Report onAlcohol and Health (2014), the most common long-term effects of alcoholconsumption include cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuropsychiatric disorders,liver damage, and gastrointestinal diseases. In addition to direct effects on theindividual consuming the alcohol, alcohol misuse can also cause harm to theindividual’s family and society as a whole by means of child abuse or neglect,sexual abuse, violence, and motor vehicle accidents. Whenit comes to harmful drinking patterns, such as binge drinking, Ireland iscurrently at the epicenter of this problem with 39% of all Irish people overthe age of 15 were found to have engaged in binge drinking over the past 30days, second to only Austria (40.5%) (WHO, 2014).
Consuming alcohol in binge drinking fashionaccounted for 75% of the total alcohol consumed in Ireland (WHO, 2014). Accordingto a survey conducted by the Health Research Board (HRB) (2014), three deathsper day were found to be alcohol related in 2013, two deaths per day were dueto chronic health conditions and one death was due to poisoning or trauma. Every month, 88 lives were claimed as aresult of alcohol related deaths as well as 50% of all suicides were found tobe linked in some way with alcohol consumption (HRB, 2014). Another report by HRB (2016) found that between1995 and 2013, a threefold increase in the rate of alcoholic liver disease dischargesfrom hospitals was observed.
TheNational Cancer Strategy Report (2017) identified that in Ireland, alcoholconsumption is responsible for approximately 900 newly diagnosed cancers eachyear. In summary, Ireland is in aserious dilemma when it comes to alcohol misuse and harmful drinkingpatterns. The remainder of this reportwill be focused on outlining what policies have been implemented in order to addressthe negative impacts of alcohol consumption and suggestions for additionalimprovements in targeting this national problem. TheOttawa Charter for Health Promotion will be used as a framework for analyzing thecurrent government policies in place that have been aimed at reducing alcoholconsumption in Ireland. In 1986, theWorld Health Organization developed the Ottawa Charter as a guide to followwhen developing programs that target all determinants of health by ensuringthese programs emphasize health promotion (Ministry of Health, 2008). Providing individuals and communities withthe necessary tools to increase their control over and improve their health andwellbeing is the central strategy that health promotion entails (WHO, 2018). Theseprograms are aimed at building healthy public policy, creating a supportive environment,strengthening community action, developing personal skills, and reorienting healthservices (WHO, 2018). AlcoholAction Ireland (AAI) was established in 2003 with the goal of creatingnation-wide awareness of the effects of alcohol misuse on your health whileoffering solutions that could reduce alcohol’s harmful effects (AAI,2018).
The AAI website provides a greatmeans to obtaining all sorts of alcohol related facts such as the effects ofalcohol on health, alcohol and cancer, effect of alcohol and children, alcoholand pregnancy, just to name a few. Factsare brought together from various surveys and reports conducted by WHO, HRB,national cancer control program, etc. and are presented in a very user friendlyand simple manner making them easily accessible by the general public. Some other key features of AAI are campaignsfor implementing policies to target alcohol consumption, as well as highlightingvarious publications, reports, and news articles that all work towards reducingalcohol harm. Overall, this initiativecreates a very strong supportive environment while also striving to buildhealthy public policy by means of campaigning for policies that will onlyfurther strengthening Irelands attempt to distance itself from its currentunhealthy relationship with alcohol. In2015, as an attempt to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland and the harmfulconsequences associated with alcohol misuse, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill wasestablished. The Bill tackles thisproblem by establishing policies that target the affordability