Press Release

National Alcohol Awareness Campaign

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Brian Cowen TD, today (20 April, 1998) launched the National Alcohol Awareness Campaign.

The overall message of the campaign is “control your drinking before it controls you”. The campaign will take the form of superlite advertisements and radio messages which are designed to make people think. Was it such a great night if I can’t remember a thing? Could I have played a better football or rugby match if I didn’t have those extra few pints last night?

Launching the campaign Minister Cowen said “What I am doing here this morning is important. It is important because alcohol, its use and abuse, plays such a huge role in our society and today I am launching a campaign that seeks to create an awareness of the potential for damage which alcohol misuse causes”.

This campaign is developed on foot of the National Alcohol Policy which was launched in September 1996. “The aim of the National Alcohol Policy is to have sensible drinking accepted as the norm. This implies a radical change in our attitude to alcohol consumption. For those of us who drink it means accepting that less is better. The attitude of condoning or lauding excessive use of alcohol will be difficult to change but it must begin now” said Minister Cowen.

The Minister also pointed to the benefits of alcohol – how its use graces and enhances many social occasions and benefits the economy. It provides employment in many sectors and is also a source of exchequer funding. “However uncontrolled and used irresponsibly, alcohol has the potential to cause much damage and hardship at individual, family, community and societal levels” he said.

The Minister concluded by saying “I am confident that this campaign will get people to think about their drinking, will encourage debate on the issue and will ultimately contribute to a change in behaviour. The importance of a multi-sectoral approach to encourage this change must be stressed. I hope that we can all continue to work together – the health sector, the education sector, the law enforcers and the drinks industry so that we can all see positive results”.