I am having a quiet Friday night after an academic seminar and a 'big' lunch. Earlier this evening I had a quick (and somewhat hypocritical) flip through a just released ABS survey of Australia's drinking habits.
Levels of risky drinking have increased 50% over the past 10 years. 15% of male adults and 12% of female adults in Australia drink at 'risky' levels. Women are catching up to men with their risky drinking growing much faster than for men.
Adults in the age range 45-54 drink most.
There are no statistically significant differences between levels of risky drinking between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Important to get our facts right on this.
Alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia (after tobacco) which beats it by a mile and the main cause of deaths on Australian roads.
In 2004, the age standardised rate for male deaths due to alcoholic liver disease as the underlying cause was 5.5 per 100,000 and 1.5 per 100,000 for females.
In 2004, the age standardised rate for male deaths with mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol as the underlying cause was 1.9 per 100,000 and 0.4 per 100,000 for females.
From 1998-99 to 2004-05, the overall number of hospital separations with principal diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorders per 1,000 population increased by 39% for all ages (by 41% for those under 20 years).
The largest number of alcohol-related hospital separations among both men and women in 1998 was due to alcoholism and alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The second-largest number due to road injuries for men and cancer for women.
31,132 Australians died from alcohol-caused disease and injury from 1992-2001; of these 75% were male and 25% female. From 1993-94 to 2000-01, there were over half a million hospitalisations due to risky and high-risk drinking in Australia.