In this bulletin, trends in treated problem alcohol use are described for the seven-year period from 2014 to 2020. The data are taken from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS), the national surveillance system that records and reports on cases of drug and alcohol treatment in Ireland. NDTRS data for 2020 should be interpreted in the context of COVID-19. In 2020, there was an overall drop in the number of cases entering drug treatment which in part was the result of temporary service closures and measures introduced to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. This does not necessarily indicate a real decline in demand for treatment. Overview In this seven-year period, 51,205 cases were treated for alcohol as a main problem. • The number of cases treated decreased from 7,546 in 2019 to 5,824 in 2020, a drop of 22.8%. • The proportion of new cases decreased from 48.6% in 2014 to 42.8% in 2020. Level of problem alcohol use • In 2020, the median age at which cases first started drinking alcohol was 16 years. • Over the period, almost two-in-every-three (66.1%) cases were classified as alcohol dependent. • In 2020, 57.2% of new cases were classified as alcohol dependent as compared to 53.2% in 2014. • The proportion of previously treated cases classified as alcohol dependent increased from 66.6% in 2014 to 72.1% in 2020.
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