Excessive alcohol consumption in Ireland places an enormous burden on people’s health, the healthcare system and our wider society.
As a healthcare organisation representing thousands of doctors on the frontline of health services, we represent a patient-focused, independent voice in the national debate on alcohol.
Members of the RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol were doctors working in the Irish health system, many of whom were seeing increasing numbers of patients presenting with advanced alcoholic liver disease, cancer, head injuries and other alcohol-related illnesses and injuries.
Every day in Ireland, three people die as a result of alcohol. Some 1,500 hospital beds are occupied every night as a result of alcohol use, placing an unsustainable burden on the health services.
Our doctors wanted to take action to prevent more lives being lost and destroyed, by reviewing the latest evidence and proposing practical ways to tackle harmful alcohol consumption.
The RCPI Policy Group on Alcohol was established in 2012 and was chaired by Professor Frank Murray, past President of RCPI, and a liver specialist in Beaumont Hospital.
Social customs and economic interests should not blind us to the fact that alcohol is a toxic substance. It can harm nearly every organ and every system in our bodies.
High levels of alcohol consumption and binge drinking cause serious health problems, ranging from alcoholic liver disease to increased risk of cancer.
Alcohol is unlike other retail products and can give you much more than a hangover - its use is linked to seven types of cancer, including breast cancer in women and bowel cancer. Even small amounts of alcohol are associated with an increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.
88 deaths every month in Ireland are directly attributable to alcohol.
It is a factor in suicides, road traffic accidents and drownings.
|Prof Frank Murray (Chair)||Beaumont Hospital Dublin & Royal College of Physicians of Ireland|
|Prof Joe Barry||Faculty of Public Health Medicine, RCPI|
|Dr Declan Bedford||Faculty of Public Health Medicine, RCPI|
|Dr Turlough Bolger||Faculty of Paediatrics, RCPI|
|Dr Thomas Breslin||Irish Association for Emergency Medicine|
|Dr Blanaid Hayes||Faculty of Occupational Medicine, RCPI|
|Dr Marie Laffoy||National Cancer Control Programme|
|Prof Aiden McCormick||Irish Society of Gastroenterology|
|Prof Deirdre Murphy||Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists|
|Dr Brian Norton||Irish College of General Practitioners|
|Dr Kieran O’Shea||Institute of Orthopaedic Surgery|
|Dr Eimear Smith||Irish Association for Rehabilitation Medicine|
|Dr Stephen Stewart||Centre for Liver Disease Mater Misericordiae Hospital|
|Prof William Tormey||Faculty of Pathology, RCPI|
For information on our policy work on alcohol contact: