More support needed to cut back on alcohol

14 September 2016

Over 1 in 4 Australian adults consumed alcohol at levels which put them at risk of short-term harm in 2013, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) flagship report, Australia’s health 2016.

“A real concern is 39% of young people drank alcohol at levels that put them at risk of harm,” said Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol.

“According to the report, alcohol contributed to over 5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2011. Among motor vehicle occupants, alcohol was responsible for 28% of the burden due to traffic accidents,” said Dr Crozier.

“Alcohol was responsible for almost a quarter of the health burden due to suicide and self-inflicted injuries, and of chronic liver disease,” Dr Crozier continued.

“Australians have a growing understanding of the health risks from alcohol. The proportion of adults who consumed alcohol at risky levels decreased between 2010 and 2013. Unfortunately, many people find cutting back difficult,” said Dr Crozier.

Australia’s health 2016 shows alcohol was the leading drug for which people sought treatment from alcohol and other drug treatment services. It was the drug of principle concern for almost 2 in 5 people seeking treatment.

“For people wanting to cut back on their drinking, it can feel like an uphill battle they face alone. Governments have the opportunity to help those people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption and minimise their risk of developing chronic diseases,” said Dr Crozier.

“Some ways the Government could do this are by limiting alcohol advertising, especially to children and on public transport. In a time of budget austerity, taxing alcohol in line with the harm it does to our community would be a sensible step forward. This should include replacing the wine equalisation tax with a volumetric tax on alcohol,” said Dr Crozier.

“It’s not about creating a ‘Nanny State’, it’s about helping people make decisions that protect their own health and the health of those around them,” continued Dr Crozier.

“The Government needs to support communities that want to put sensible limits on trading hours of bars and pubs, including last drinks at 3am. It is about listening to the community and doing what’s best for the health of Australians,” concluded Dr Crozier.


Devin Bowles – 02 6171 1306 or 02 6247 1187 after hours

About the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol:

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) is a national coalition representing more than 90 organisations from across Australia. NAAA’s members cover a diverse range of interests, including public health, law enforcement, local government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, child and adolescent health, and family and community services.


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