General practitioner Northern Ireland

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Call to cut hours of alcohol sale

Family doctors have called for reduced hours of sale for alcohol.

alcohol labelling examplesIt is one of a series of measures GPs in Northern Ireland want to see introduced to address its health impacts.

BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Tom Black said there had been a huge increase in the number of people attending GP out-of-hours services and emergency departments as a result of alcohol and drug abuse.

He was speaking after health, social services and public safety minister Edwin Poots published the second annual report on progress against Northern Ireland’s cross-departmental strategy to address the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol and drugs.

While Mr Poots said progress had been made, more work was required, particularly in relation to prescription drug misuse.

Burden on society

Dr Black said: ‘GPs welcome this initiative from the minister as alcohol and drug related illness places a huge burden on public health and health services locally.

‘We need to see price increases for alcohol with a minimum unit price of 50 pence per unit.

‘We need to see reduced hours of sale for alcohol and education and health promotion to reduce consumption and drink-driving.’

Services and education should be prioritised for teenage drinkers, said Dr Black.

He said GPs did a very good job controlling access to addictive drugs available on prescription. 

However, he added that research has shown that access to drugs on the internet was an increasing problem, especially for addictive painkillers and benzodiazepines. 

He said this would only be solved by international co-operation on drug control.

 Find out about the cost of alcohol