56,700 people treated for problem alcohol use between 2009 and 2015

Figures show a decrease in the number of people seeking treatment for alcohol as their main problem drug

56,700 people treated for problem alcohol use between 2009 and 2015

File photo. Picture by: Clara Molden/PA Archive/PA Images

Around 56,700 people in Ireland were treated for problem alcohol use between 2009 and 2015, according to newly released figures from the Health Research Board (HRB).

The figures show that nearly four out of 10 cases were treated in residential facilities.

During 2015, more than 7,616 people sought treatment for alcohol as a main problem drug, compared to 4,732 for opiates and 2,786 for cannabis.

Dr Suzi Lyons, senior researcher at the HRB, explained that there has been a decrease in the number of cases seeking treatment for alcohol as their main problem drug.

She said: "This could be the result of a real decrease in numbers seeking treatment, a change in the participation of services reporting cases, availability of services, or a combination of these factors."

However, she added: "There has been an increase in the number of new cases who were classified as dependent on alcohol when they presented to treatment for the first time - from 41.5% in 2009 to 57.0% in 2015. This makes treatment and recovery more difficult".