This from the Belfast Telegraph:
3,000 in Ulster are treated for alcohol abuse
By Nigel Gould
26 May 2006
More than 3,000 Ulster people are being treated for alcohol abuse, it can be revealed today.
And nearly a third of them are also receiving treatment for drugs and drink problems.
The shock new figures emerge just a week after health chiefs unveiled a £4m drive to tackle the worrying rise in binge boozing and drugs abuse among Ulster's young.
Of the 3,074 people being treated for alchohol abuse, 42 are in jail while 108 prisoners are also receiving treatment for drugs problems.
Meanwhile, some 230 drink/drugs abusers are currently in hospitals across Northern Ireland.
The statistics were revealed in reply to a written Parliamentary question from DUP MP, David Simpson.
The Department of Health say alcohol abuse does not constitute addiction - but said there are currently 239 people on the Northern Ireland Addicts Index Database.
No figure was available for drink addicts.
Mr Simpson said it was vital addiction and abuse services were properly resourced.
"There is no doubt that addiction problems are an increasing challenge in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the UK," he said.
"Treatment for addictions is not regarded as an emergency and therefore does not attract the resources that other services do.
"Northern Ireland would benefit from many more hospital beds dedicated to addiction services.
"There are approximately 5,000 hospital admissions and over 200 deaths each year in Northern Ireland as the result of alcohol. Addictions can have a knock-on effect on so many other areas such as crime.
"For example over 12 months from 2004-05, 359 young offenders committed to Hydebank Young Offenders Centre and Prison declared a dependency on alcohol. Some 468 inmates admitted to dependency or misuse of drugs.
"Only 58 inmates did not declare a dependency on either alcohol or drugs."
The Department's Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs (2006-2011) will look at the problems of drink and drugs in the province over the next five years.
The strategy document contains a range of proposals designed to develop a co-ordinated and integrated approach to tackling the twin issues of alcohol and drug misuse in Northern Ireland.
Its main aim is to reduce the level of alcohol and drug-related harm in Northern Ireland through a series of inter-connected short, medium and long term outcomes. These will be delivered through activities and initiatives at both local and regional level.
Binge-drinking among adults continues to be of concern, with 48% of men and 35% of women reported having binged.
Alcohol and drugs misuse costs Northern Ireland society hundreds of millions of pounds each year and causes undoubted misery to many individuals, families and communities.
The new strategy contains a wide range of activities aimed at providing treatment and support to all problem users, as well as targeted education and prevention programmes.
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