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Inishowen's alcohol timebomb 06.11.07

A GROWING number of women are presenting themselves at an Inishowen addiction centre for alcohol dependency.
Fr. James Sweeney, who works at the White Oaks Rehabilitation Centre in Muff, warned that drinking wine in the secrecy of the home is among the main reasons.
Part of the White Oaks Rehabilitation Centre complex. He said he had seen a huge increase in the number of women presenting for treatment in the last two years.
"There's been a big increase in the number of women in the 40 plus age group presenting themselves for treatment in the last two years or so.
"It's a serious problem that's
only coming to light and is only going to get worse. I would predict that in the next five to ten years, half of all treatment beds will be taken up by women."
The Donegal Town-born counsellor, who also treats addicts in the south west of the county, said the White Oaks gender ratio was levelling out. Of the 12 residents treated at any one time from throughout the North West, there was occasionally five women to seven men.
He blamed the home consumption of alcohol - particularly wine - for the worsening problem.
"When a person drinks at home, it's a very private and secretive pursuit and there's nobody to control the measures.
"Wine sales have increased fivefold in Ireland over the last ten years and as a result, our problems are increasing. The really worrying thing is that we're only seeing a fraction of the problem. It's the abuse of alcohol that's the problem, not the use of it," he added.
A recent report shows that Donegal now has the seventh highest incidence of alcohol-related deaths in the country. Fr. Sweeney is not surprised.
"The addiction to alcohol is the leprosy of our times, it's a huge problem and it's affecting so many. It's just destroying people."
He said people had to get to grips with the huge denial problem surrounding alcohol abuse as well as its links to suicide.
"When post-mortems are carried out, a very high percentage of those reports will show that people who die by suicide have alcohol in their systems prior to death." On a positive note, Fr. Sweeney told InishowenNews.com that 100 recovering alcoholics from throughout the North West, Cavan and Leitrim, attended Medallion Day at White Oaks on Sunday. They each received a medallion to mark their sobriety ranging from one year to six years following treatment at the local centre. Fr. Sweeney said Medallion Day was a great milestone for anyone recovering from addiction.
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