The Western Region Drugs Task Force (WRDTF ) has called for a total ban on the advertising of alcohol and the reduction, density and hours of operation for outlets selling alcohol.
The call came in advance of the first Mayo Drugs and Alcohol Awareness Week, which will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Monday November 7 at the Breaffy House Hotel and which will run until Friday November 11. The organisers of the week said that they would be lobbying for legislative change around the media advertising of alcohol.
Another highlight of the week will be the presentation of new findings from research by Dr Ann Hope (Trinity College ) called ‘Hidden Realities: Children’s exposure to risk from parental drinking in Ireland’. She will present the findings for the first time, publicly, at Sláinte, a seminar to explore the relationship between Irish culture and alcohol consumption. It will take place on Thursday November 10 in Hotel Ballina and will be chaired by Dr Mick Loftus, who is well known for his work in this field.
The awareness week is the initiative of the WRDTF in partnership with South West Mayo Development Company and Mayo North East LEADER Partnership.
Pat Conway, WRDTF community liaison officer who is responsible for organising the week, said that the strong emphasis on alcohol was in response to the recognition that it is by far the most commonly used substance in the region. Mayo’s relationship with alcohol is particularly tragic, he said. In a recent Health Research Board report, Mayo was shown to have the highest number of alcohol deaths in the country and the lowest rate of treatment for alcohol abuse.
In addition to the national seminar, Sláinte, there will be a range of community information launches as well as alcohol and drug free nights out aimed at young people.