Alliance Call For Breakdown Of Taboo Surrounding Alcohol Addiction

The Alliance party is calling for an end to the stigma that surrounds alcohol addiction, after it was revealed that the number of deaths in Northern Ireland related to the problem has reached the highest on record.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency released the figures for 2017 which showed a growth in the problem for the fourth consecutive year, with 303 people losing their life due to alcohol-related causes.

The figures show a 30 per cent rise over the past decade.

"It's sad to read these figures, not least given the poor quality of life the deceased will have experienced in the lead-up to their death," commented Paula Bradshaw, the party's Health Spokesperson.

"Anyone with relatives living with alcohol addiction will know how devastating and incredibly poignant the situation is, recognising so many opportunities lost in their lives to the pain and debilitation of addiction."
News Image
The south Belfast MLA continued that the figures point to three crucial issues in society: "Firstly, we need to see the introduction of minimum unit price for alcohol, as has taken place in Scotland in 2018. However, for this we require a fully functioning Assembly. The Department of Health should commence an exploration exercise to scope this out, so when the Assembly returns, this could be brought forward as a matter of urgency. 

"Secondly, we need to recognise where there is a disproportionate number of these alcohol-related deaths in socially-deprived communities. With funding to community and voluntary groups working in these areas experiencing year-on-year cuts, the Departments for Communities and Health have to arrest this and start adequately resourcing those programmes with the experience and ability to support people living with alcohol addiction.

"Lastly, there is a wider need for society to recognise alcohol addiction as an illness, many times brought about through mental ill health, debt and family breakdown.

"It's time this taboo subject is given the compassion it deserves."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 January 2019
Ireland Set To Hold Divorce Referendum
The Irish Government has announced plans to hold a referendum on easing the country's divorce restrictions. The vote will propose removing guidelines set in the Irish Constitution regarding the minimum period an estranged couple must spend living apart before they can receive the permanent divorce decree.
07 February 2019
Other News In Brief
Police To Patrol Belfast Glider Services Police are to start patrolling the Belfast Glider buses in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour, it has emerged. Recent weeks have seen vandalism of both vehicles and ticket machines as well as verbal and physical attacks on staff. The west Belfast area appears to be the worst affected by the issue.
06 June 2012
Lottery Money To Address Impact Of Alcohol
More than £187,000 of lottery money will be deployed in Northern Ireland to groups trying to reduce the harm caused by alcohol misuse. The grants are being awarded by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), which helps give away the 28p in every pound spent on the National Lottery.
01 August 2018
Department Of Health To Launch Review Of Neurology Services
The Department of Health is to launch a regional review of neurological services covering all neurology specialities. The review will entail a comprehensive review as part of the Department’s programme of service reviews, announced in 2016 by the former Health Minister in Health and Wellbeing 2026 'Delivering Together'.
21 June 2018
Systemic Failures In Education, Poverty & Mental Health In NI
The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People has warned of 'systemic failures' in education, poverty and mental health.