There has been an increase in the number of alcohol-related deaths in Ireland, according to a new report from the Health Research Board.
The first national report on trends in alcohol-related deaths and those who were alcohol dependent shows there were 672 alcohol-related poisoning deaths during the period 2004 to 2008.
Half of all of the alcohol-related deaths also involved another drug, mostly tranquillisers like benzodiazepines.
Two thirds of those who died were men and most were under 50 years of age.
Also 3,336 non-poisoning deaths of people who were alcohol-dependent were reported.
Most of the deaths were due to medical causes, alcoholic liver disease (24%), cardiac conditions (17%) and respiratory infections (11%).
Over a third of the deaths in the 25-34 year age group were due to alcoholic liver disease.
Dr Suzi Lyons, senior researcher at the HRB, said many of those who died were still in the prime of their life.
She said the rise in alcohol-related deaths was probably due to a true increase in deaths, as well as improved recording practices.
The per capita consumption of alcohol in Ireland is among the highest in Europe and the majority of Irish people drink in a harmful manner, it says.
The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland said it complies with some of the most stringent regulations on alcohol marketing, sponsorship and advertising in the world.
It said that average consumption had declined dramatically from 2008-2010 and that the organisation continues to support all evidence-based solutions to address alcohol misue.