Alcohol poisoning claiming one life per week in Ireland say experts

Alcohol poisoning claiming one life per week in Ireland say experts

Alcohol is implicated in more overdose deaths than any other drug, according to health experts

Statistics from the Health Research Board (HRB) show that alcohol poisoning kills one person every week in Ireland and accounted for one third of poisoning deaths in 2013.

The drug study revealed that 234 people died in that year because they took a mixture of drugs. 

Alcohol was implicated in 137 of those cases.  

Graham Love, HRB chief executive, warned that that it was not just illegal drugs that were responsible for the deaths.

"Alcohol is implicated in more poisoning deaths than any other single drug, and alcohol poisonings alone claim one life per week," he said.

"Mixing drugs is another dangerous behaviour that is resulting in death.

"For example, 80pc of drugs implicated along with alcohol were prescription drugs."

Overall the study showed nearly two people died each day from poisoning, trauma or medical causes linked with drug use in 2013, with 679 deaths recorded.

The HRB report also revealed that 80 per cent of those deaths were heroin-related.

The expert body has warned that heroin use is on the rise again with 50 per of those cases, the user was injecting at the time of their death.

Minister of State for Drugs Aodhan O'Riordain expressed his concern about the increase in heroin deaths in Ireland.

"There are no easy solutions to addressing what is a very complex problem.

"That's why the Government has taken a number of actions to reduce drug-related deaths, including the expansion of needle exchange services and making naloxone for the treatment of opiate overdose more widely available. I believe lives will be saved as a result of these initiatives," Mr O Riordan said.