Council: Majority of young Aussie drink to get drunk

MORE than 60% of all young Australians drink to get drunk, while drinkers are getting younger and their behaviour with alcohol more risky, the Australian National Council on Drugs has warned.

The Council on Wednesday released a national plan to address alcohol concerns, focussing on the need for all in the community to take action on the effects of the bottle.

Research the ANCD's report highlighted were findings that 13% of young Australians' deaths were alcohol-related and 60% of children aged 12-17 years old reporting drinking in the past year.

It also cited other research finding that as much as 20% of Australians drink at levels that "put them at risk of lifetime harm" through injury or disease.

Council chairman John Herron said the damage of alcohol on communities around the country was "simply appalling", and the plan aimed for governments and people to address the situation.

"The health, social and economic costs associated with alcohol use simply cannot be allowed to continue at the current level," Dr Herron said.

"We all understand that the culture of drinking and intoxication has a long history in Australia and we all agree that these levels of harm are unacceptable, however whenever we speak of culture change the industries that profit most from this culture run the same old fear campaign of a nanny state takeover," he said.

"Seatbelts, random breath tests and gun laws do not represent a nanny state and nor do sensible alcohol policies and programs."

The plan calls for more regulation of the alcohol industry, including advertising, more information campaigns about the harm of alcohol abuse and damage, improved treatment strategies and more regulation on the availability of alcohol.

ALCOHOL PROBLEMS

  • 60% of all police attendances, including 90% of late-night calls, involve alcohol
  • 20% of Australians drink at levels that put them at risk of lifetime harm from injury or disease
  • 36% of drinkers say their primary purpose when drinking is 'to get drunk'
  • 25% of Australians report having been a victim of alcohol-related verbal abuse
  • 21% of Australians under the age of 18 reports having been harmed by another's drinking
  • 8% of Australians report having been a victim of alcohol-related physical abuse
  • 3.2% of the total burden of disease in Australia is related to alcohol use
  • Source: ANCD National Plan Alcohol Action Plan

DRINKING CULTURE

  • 60% of students aged 12-17 reported consuming alcohol in the past year, and 23% in the past week
  • 61% of 18-29 year olds reported they drank specifically to get drunk
  • 22% of hospitalisations and 13% of deaths of young people are attributed to alcohol
  • 52% of alcohol-related road injuries and 32% of alcohol-related hospital admissions for injuries from violence involve 15-24 year olds


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