BBC presenter Stephen Nolan has declared that he very seldom drinks alcohol because of a deep fear that he would become addicted to it.
Mr Nolan, speaking on air on his BBC Radio Ulster show on Tuesday, said that he worries he will be gripped by a compulsion to keep drinking, just as he now feels compelled to keep eating food.
He was speaking during a report about figures, obtained by the BBC, showing the extent of alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland.
“There’s so many landmines as you walk through life,” he told listeners, during a discussion with a guest about alcoholism.
“I’ve been caught by food, clearly, and a bad diet, and that’s probably really harming me...
“Can I share something with you? I drink probably once or twice a year, maximum – as in two nights.
“[People] wonder why. And the reality for me is because I eat so much I’m terrified of developing the same type of addiction to alcohol.
“I’m just, I’m terrified of it actually.”
Yesterday the BBC said it had obtained figures showing that between 2001 and 2016, more than 3,500 deaths in Northern Ireland were attributed to alcohol.
It said there were 289 such deaths recorded in 2016 – the highest figure since 2001.
It also said that from the years 2006 to 2016 there were over 1,500 more alcohol related-deaths (2,668) in Northern Ireland than deaths connected to drugs (1,149).
It said the figures were provided to BBC News Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
It quoted coroner Joe McCrisken as saying: “We have an enormous problem with alcohol use, misuse and abuse in Northern Ireland.
“The figures are frightening because they show that the number of alcohol-related deaths is increasing, so it’s important to raise awareness about the dangers.”