Jeff McMullen on ABC ‘Difference of Opinion last night presented the following data about alcohol abuse in Australia. http://abc.net.au/tv/differenceofopinion/
[ Alcohol is deeply embedded in Australian culture. It’s part of the way we socialise, relax and celebrate. It employs 36 000 people in an industry worth $18.3 billion. 83% of Australians drink alcohol to some extent. It’s perfectly legal but it causes more death and injury than all illicit drugs together. So do we have a national drinking problem, or is it just a case of a troublesome few too many? We’ve moved away from restrictive licensing laws to an increasing number of extended & even 24 hour venues. National Competition Policy has allowed more liquor outlets with increased discounting, making alcohol cheaper and more accessible than ever. The Federal Government raises $5.5 billion in alcohol excise but the National Alcohol Strategy estimates that alcohol costs our community $7.6 billion in terms of health, crime and lost productivity. The destructive impact of alcohol in the Northern Territory has lead the Federal Government to move to limit its availability. Last week, Victoria Police announced a new squad to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence in the city’s nightclub precincts.
Two thirds of alcohol consumed in Australia is consumed in a way that puts the drinker or another person’s health and wellbeing at risk. We drink less per person than they do in France, but by and large, we binge drink leaving ourselves open to acute harm. While most harm in terms of accidents and assaults happens to young men, young women are drinking more and putting themselves increasingly at risk. Alcohol was the “principal drug of concern” for people seeking treatment for substance dependency, particularly among older people. A recent study found that 230 000 children live in a household where at least one adult binge drinks. Another study estimated that 1 in 8 drink to a level that causes permanent brain damage.]
It is not a bad thing, not to drink alcohol at all. So if you’re an adult reading this, take a stand for life, for society. It doesn’t matter that you are drinking in moderation, the change of culture that we need across the world is to make it ordinary not to be drinking alcohol, not to be taking other recreational drugs, especially not to be continually impressing on children that sociability goes hand in hand with alcohol. Do something courageous with your life, work out how to do it without the drug.