Feb 7th 2012: Substance Misuse Report launched by Dept. of Health
“Twelve months on: no plan and no action”
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in the year since the report of the National Substance Misuse Steering Group was launched by the Department of Health, and is calling on the Government to publish the promised Action Plan by the end of this month.
“At the launch of the report on February 7th last year, we were promised by Government that an action plan would be developed following consultation. Twelve months on we have no plan and no action,” said Mary Cunningham, NYCI director.
“The lack of political will to advance the recommendations of this report despite the serious damage caused by alcohol related harm to children and young people is very disappointing,” added Ms Cunningham.
“We know that the drinks industry did all it could to scupper this report before and after it was launched. Since then they have been lobbying behind closed doors to ensure this report is shelved and that their sales and profits are protected.”
The report itself was the product of two years work by the steering group which included representation from the drinks industry itself. It sets out a number of ambitious yet achievable recommendations to address alcohol related harm among the population, but particularly among children and young people under 18 years of age. The report recommends actions to address the price, promotion and easy availability of alcohol which contribute to the high levels of alcohol consumption by young people and the impact of alcohol abuse on children in families in Ireland.
“All the measures proposed were based on sound national and international evidence of what works to address alcohol misuse,” continued Ms Cunningham.
“These included minimum pricing, statutory restrictions on advertising and marketing, the phasing out of sponsorship by the drinks industry of major sports and cultural events by 2016 and introducing structural separation of alcohol in mixed trading premises.
“NYCI are calling on the Government to publish the Action Plan by the end of this month. It’s time the Government put the health and well being of our citizens and especially our children and young people ahead of the corporate profits of the drinks industry,” concluded Ms Cunningham.
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of Irish voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people. www.youth.ie Report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group available here: