Report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group
The much-anticipated report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group was launched earlier today at a media briefing held in Department of Health Offices, Dublin.
The report was officially launched by Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, and Chairman of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group.
Opening the proceedings, Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care and Drugs Strategy, Roisin Shortall, stated: “the report is a very welcome contribution to the debate, which I hope will get underway now in relation to our relationship in this country with alcohol. I believe that the time is right now, for us to move forward in a mature way in addressing the difficulties that alcohol causes in our society, and to draw up an action plan to deal with that in a comprehensive way”.
View Launch Video
The programme for Government commits to having a “National Addiction Strategy” dealing with both drugs and alcohol.
The government decided in 2009 to include alcohol in a National Substance Misuse Strategy. Arising from this decision, as steering Group chaired by the Department of Health (originally the Steering Group was jointly chaired by the Department of Health & Children and the department of Community, rural & Gaeltacht Affairs) was established to advise Ministers on a new strategy.
Today’s launch marks the conclusion of the work of that Steering Group.
The main recommendations in the report, as listed below, are outlined under the pillars of the National Substance Misuse Strategy: supply; prevention; treatment and rehabilitation; research.
- Price of alcohol and affordability
- Minimum pricing
- Social responsibility’ levy
- Legislation on structural separation of alcohol from other products
- Restrict advertising of alcohol – legislation
- Phase-out sponsorship of sport, etc
- Monitor enforcement of legislation.
- New low-risk weekly consumption guidelines: Women: Less than 112 grams of pure alcohol = 11 standard drinks; Men: Less than 168 grams of pure alcohol = 17 standard drinks
- Grams of alcohol per container
- Calorific content
- Health warnings (pregnancy)
- Greater co-ordination of prevention activities
- Alcohol-free venues
Treatment and Rehabilitation
- New Clinical Directorate (Governance)
- National screening and brief intervention protocol
- Strengthen FASD surveillance (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
- Improve co-operation between addiction, mental health as well as child and family services.
- Develop family support services on addiction
Collect data on alcohol for:
- Demand for alcohol treatment
- Alcohol-related deaths
- Public expenditure
- Harm reduction
Monitoring and Implementation
Periodic review of strategy implementation
- Measurable indicators
Minister Shortall hoped that the report would contribute towards constructive debate with irish society in relation to our relationship with alcohol.
She plans to bring the report to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children later this month.
It is then intended to produce an action plan, informed by this report, and a recent Oireachtas report on the misuse of alcohol and other drugs, to “achieve political support across the political spectrum”.
When questioned by members of the media in relation to the steering groups’ level of confidence that the report will become official Government strategy, Dr. Holohan expressed confidence that “it will”.