Irish people need to stop 'reveling in and laughing at' our relationship with alcohol.
That's according to Dr Garrett McGovern, a GP specialising in substance abuse at the Priory Medical Clinic.
He was speaking as a new report from the Health Research Board (HRB) found adolescents are starting to drink alcohol at a later age and the number of young people who do not drink has increased from 11% in 2002 to 265 in 2019.
But Dr McGovern told Newstalk Breakfast messages around prevention have been completely lost.
"There's absolutely no question that our own relationship with alcohol has an effect on our children.
"We are very permissive about alcohol in this country, it's a real problem.
"We've had the introduction of minimum unit pricing which will help, it'll only go part of the way.
"I think we really need to look at, overall, the culture - this is going back, I'd like to say decades, possibly going back centuries.
"Even abroad we have a bit of a reputation as big drinkers in this country, and we sort of revel in it and laugh in it.
"But if you look at any Emergency Department in this country - and any hospital bed in this country - if you look at reasons why people are in hospital beds in this country.
"One of the risk factors for many of those illnesses in those beds is actually the relationship with alcohol.
"But yet our message of prevention has been completely lost".
On drug usage, Dr McGovern says it is no longer about people taking drugs on a night out.
"The amount of presentations over the last couple of years - and understandably so, cause people were hold up in the house - men going out to garden sheds away from their wife and kind of snorting away for the evening.
"It's very, very grim".
And he says the statistics are only going one way.
"I think this has been on the increase for very many years to be honest with you.
"We're seeing an awful lot in frontline treatment services, a huge increase in people coming forward for treatment for cocaine dependence.
"Sometimes you're not sure whether there's an increase in actual use - or more of an increase in awareness about cocaine and its ill-effects, and the fact that there are treatment options out there.
"But I think there's no doubt that over the last number of years, probably over the last five or six years, there has been a huge increase in cocaine presenting for treatment - and particularly in young people".
Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the HSE Drugs & Alcohol Helpline on 1800-459-459 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org