Excessive drinking is Ireland’s worst health problem, the government said this week. Alcohol poisoning and drunken accidents account for more than a quarter of all admissions to hospital emergency rooms across the country. Health Minister Michael Martin said the government had had it with “people turning up hopelessly drunk” at the hospital. He has proposed restricting ads for beer and whiskey, and adding health warnings to the labels on all alcoholic beverages. Ireland has long been associated with heavy drinking, but the problem has worsened in the past decade. Per capita consumption of alcohol has risen by 50 percent since 1989.
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