The Western Region Drugs Task Force (WRDTF), co-organisers of the first Mayo Drugs and Alcohol Awareness Week, want to ban alcohol advertising in media. It also wants to further restrict the hours in which alcoholic beverages can be sold.
The first Mayo Drugs and Alcohol Awareness Week was launched yesterday (Monday) by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Breaffy House Hotel and will run until Friday, November 11.
Pat Conway, WRDTF Community Liaison Officer, said that event is a response to the recognition that alcohol is by far the most commonly abused substance in the region. In a recent Health Research Board report Mayo was shown to have the highest alcohol-related deaths in the country, and the lowest rate of treatment for alcohol abuse.
“Alcohol [consumption] is a complex issue, as it is seen as a major part of the Irish culture and holds social significance,” he said. “However, we cannot ignore its prevalence and its damaging impact on this region and throughout the country. We have to wake up to reality by confronting the normalisation of what is often alcohol abuse.
“Alcohol is also seen as a gateway to illicit drug use, particularly for young people. It is recognised as one of the main substances used in polydrug use,” he said. It is expected that the new national substance misuse strategy, to be published by the end of 2011, will include an equal focus on alcohol and other drugs.
The week will include a national seminar, entitled Sláinte, which will explore the relationship between Irish culture and alcohol. The seminar will take place on Thursday, November 10, in Hotel Ballina, at 10.30am. It will include a presentation by Dr Ann Hope, Trinity College, called ‘Hidden Realities: Children’s exposure to risk from parental drinking in Ireland’.
The week will also include a range of community information launches as well as alcohol and drug-free nights out. For more information about the events planned around the county, contact Pat Conway on 087 7400011.