Expert: Alcohol implicated in suicides

Nov. 2, 2011 at 2:03 AM
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BALLINA, Ireland, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Teen suicide tends to be an impulsive act and alcohol can lead to an increase in that impulsiveness, a physician in Ireland said.

"Alcohol is implicated in up to 45 percent of all suicides. It blinds people's judgment and (causes them to) do things that are uncharacteristic and unusual for them. It can increase a person's depression, which is a big factor in suicide," Dr. John Connolly, the founded of the Irish Association of Suicidology, told the Irish Times.

"Teenagers tend to be far more impulsive than older people, who tend to plan things more ... . Alcohol can increase that impulsiveness, there is no doubt about that."

A family who lost a son and brother after a night of drinking is calling on tighter regulation on the cost of alcohol in Ireland's retail stores.

The family of 19-year-old David Higgins, who after a night of drinking in a pub went to a house party for more drinking and then drowned in a river, would like "a minimum price on drink," because that could prevent people from binging and having house parties after bars and pubs close.

Roisin Shortall, minister of state for health, recently said she favored the ending of below-cost alcohol selling, but the Higgins family said the government should stand up to multinational companies that make huge profits on cheap alcohol.

"The combination of cheap alcohol and all-night house parties presents a danger for young people," the father of Higgins told the Mayo News. "Young people often consume 'abnormally high levels' of alcohol at these parties, without the presence of a responsible person to say, 'You have had enough.'"

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