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Alcohol's role in deaths under-reported in Irish Newspapers

7 May 2014

HRB data underpins a new study that shows under-reporting in Irish newspapers of the role that alcohol plays in traumatic and poisoning deaths.

The study, recently published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, looks at newspaper reporting of alcohol-related deaths in Ireland over a two-year period.

There were 388 alcohol-related deaths during the two-year period which were related to the study. These were identified using the National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) which is managed by the HRB. However, only 43 of these deaths were reported in newspapers, and there were 100 articles identified about those 43 deaths.    

In both national and local newspapers only two articles, about the same person, stated clearly that a deceased person had been drinking for a prolonged period of time before their death.

Authors of the report suggest that possible reasons for the under-reporting include the newspaper’s editorial policy and a desire on the part of the journalist to protect the reputation of the deceased and their family. It was also considered that journalists, in some cases, may not be informed by the Gardaí that the person had been drinking prior to their death, leaving them unable to report on this fact.

Graham Love, Chief Executive at the HRB says,

‘This study illustrates clearly the versatility and usefulness of Health Research Board information systems and the contribution they can make to evidence-based analysis and learning'.

The NDRDI is an epidemiological database that collects data from four sources; the Coroner Service, the acute hospital sector through the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry scheme, the Central Treatment List and the General Mortality Register via the Central Statistics Office, it is a complete and accurate dataset on drug related mortality in Ireland.

The full press release on the research findings can be found on the Trinity College Dublin website at the link below.

 

For media queries contact:
Press Officer for the Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Yolanda Kennedy, tel:+353-1-8963551; yokenned(at)tcd.ie

Clinical Senior Lecturer in Addiction Studies, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin tel: +353 86 3837414 or bobby.smyth(at)hse.ie

The full journal article can be requested, free of charge, from www.drugsandalcohol.ie/21799/

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