Commenting on the latest NISRA statistics on alcohol-specific deaths, Dr Paul Darragh a member of the BMA’s Board of Science said, “It is clear that we continue to see alcohol misuse in Northern Ireland, and to see more people dying due to alcohol misuse is very worrying. The increasing number of female deaths is the highest ever recorded in Northern Ireland.
“It also appears from the figures that those in areas of higher deprivation are more likely to be affected by alcohol misuse. I would be very worried that when we see the statistics for 2020, they will be even worse due to lockdown and increased pressures on the population during the pandemic.
“BMA Northern Ireland has welcomed the review into minimum unit pricing, and we would be keen to see legislation brought forward on that as quickly as possible. A MUP (minimum unit price) is needed to specifically target the cheapest, high-strength drinks. These are increasingly popular among lower income, high dependence drinkers. We would also like to see labelling of all alcoholic products clearly stating the alcoholic content in units, advice on recommended drinking levels and include a health warning.
“It is essential that there is help available for those who want to address their drinking and it is also important that all healthcare professionals receive adequate training in identifying and delivering interventions into alcohol misuse – at an undergraduate level as medical students and as part of their postgraduate continual development – and are supported to be able to deliver this in their roles.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.