Alcohol responsible for nearly one in three Emergency Department admissions in Irish hospitals on Sunday mornings
The problem has placed a huge burden on emergency services in Ireland.
Almost one third of all Irish Emergency Department admissions in the early hours of Sunday mornings are alcohol related, a new study has found.
This has created a major burden on Ireland's emergency departments and ambulance service.
The report looks at the prevalence of alcohol-related presentations in all 29 EDs nationwide, while comparing these results with non-alcoholic-related presentations.
Assessing the records on the same four six-hour periods on four separate dates in December 2015 and January 2016 in every 24-hour ED across the country, in total, the report found that 3,194 persons were admitted to ED.
Breaking this down, the study found that a total of 5.9% of all admissions (189) were alcohol related, with this number varying between 29% in the early hours of Sunday to 1.2% on Monday morning.
On Sunday, a total of 108 presentations out of 372 were noted as being alcohol-related in ED notes, with 63.2% of these being categorised by clinical staff as 'intoxicated', compared with 20.6% on Friday evening, 12.5% on Wednesday afternoon and 3.7% on Monday morning.
Of those admitted for alcohol-related reasons, the report found that they were more likely to be men (72.5%) who arrived by ambulance and who left either before being seen by a doctor or against medical advice.
One sign that ambulance services are drained on Sunday morning was the fact that 68.5% of all alcohol-related admissions used the service.
The age range of alcohol-related admissions was extremely broad, going from 11 months to 85 years, with the average age being 39 years, while 5.3% were aged under 18.
While this poses a continuing problem to Irish EDs, our attitude towards alcoholic consumption shows signs of improving as recent figures published by the Revenue Commissioners has found that consumption fell last year by 1.4% per adult, while a World Health Organisation found that the rate has decreased by 25% since 2005.