I recently came across an article on News.com.au which discussed the idea of implementing alcohol taxes and earlier club closing hours in order to curb the scourge of alcohol fuelled harm affecting the public at large.
According to experts and doctors, young Australians are “drinking themselves to death” and the public are becoming increasingly frustrated with this behaviour.
At the moment alcohol has been blamed for one in eight deaths and one in four hospitalisations of under 25 year olds, according to new analysis from the government’s chief alcohol advisory body.
According to a trauma surgeon at St Vincent’s hospital, Dr Anthony Grabs a quarter of all patients seen on the weekend have an injury or problem related to alcohol.
“It’s not just the head injuries, the assaults and those hit by a car while drunk it is also young people who’ve lost their keys and climbed onto their balcony and broken an ankle because they’ve had too many drinks,” he says.
Alarmingly super binge drinkers are estimated to consume 3090 drinks a year. This is causing doctors to demand immediate action to combat this problematic binge drinking.
These doctors say that Aussies in their twenties are presenting to hospital with health problems that are usually associated with old age because of their alcoholic habits, health problems such as fatty liver disease, pancreatic problems and cirrhosis.
Medical staff often complain about the regular abuse, swearing and vomiting that they have to put up with from drunken people in hospital emergency departments and the beds which these drunken people take up that could be used by those who are genuinely ill.
One expert explained the extent of the problem,
The Australian National Council of Drugs executive director Gino Vumbaca said the public was worried that alcohol related violence incidents are “going through the roof”.
“The public is fed up and upset about the harm being inflicted on ordinary people,” he says.
The ANCD will today call for tax hikes and restrictions on pub opening hours and a debate on raising the legal drinking age to curb the devastating alcohol toll.
It says alcohol problems are costing local governments $800 million a year in public safety and order.
And it warns it is not just the young that have a problem with drinking. Thousands of people aged over 65 are also killed and admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol each year.
ANCD chairman Dr John Herron said the level of alcohol-related damage in the community was “simply appalling”.
“The health, social and economic costs associated with alcohol use simply cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.
The ANCD has released an eight point action plan to curb Australia’s dangerous alcohol culture and has called for the government to revisit Treasury’s call for a volumetric tax on alcohol so that the cost of the cheapest alcohol (cheap wine) increases.