Alcohol problem in Australia – It is huge. Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia. Despite the current media speculation that stimulants such as amphetamines are at epidemic proportions, alcohol remains by far the most abused and most damaging drug amongst Australians. According to recent official statistics the consumption and problematic use of Alcohol is catastrophic in comparison to all other substances, especially the much heralded stimulant drug group.
Australia’s BIGGEST DRUG THREAT? ALCOHOL, not Methamphetamines
The National figures that demonstrate the extent of the alcohol problem in Australia read like a train wreck, with more locomotives approaching quickly!
Figures of the alcohol problem in Australia amongst young people are staggering. Almost all Australians over 14 have drunk alcohol, and perhaps worse, of the same age group, more than one third drink every week. 1 in 5 of these are opening themselves up to alcohol related health risks during their lifetime. Of more immediate significance, around 1 in 6 people aged 12 and above have drunk 11 or more standard measures during a single binge in the past year.
Moving away from stats that start with young teenage years, it seems that all ages and groups contribute to the alcohol problem in Australia. For example, almost a quarter of respondents of all ages said they physically injured themselves or others through drinking, and over 40% said they were drinking more than they felt is good for them. Frighteningly for the aged, Australians over 70 years of age comprise the largest grouping of daily drinkers, rendering the alcohol problem in Australia gaining traction from teenage to old age.
Pregnant women do not escape scrutiny as, against all guidelines, 25% of Australian women drink alcohol while expecting.
Looking at the bigger pictures in society is also alarming. Three statistics that stand out are: annual alcohol related society expenses are $15.3bn, whilst only $7bn is generated annually by alcohol-related tax i.e net financial cost to the taxpayer $8.3bn ; 10% of workers say they are negatively affected by a co-worker’s drinking; alcohol related deaths (in the thousands) were more than double those from road accidents in 2005.
Meth Amphetamine (including Ice) National figures are meek compared to the alcohol problem in Australia stats.
Dealing with the young first, it is noticeable that about 1 in 14 of Australians aged 14 and above has had at least one experience of meth/amphetamines use, whilst in the last year in the same age group, 1 in 50 used crystal meth or ice. Add to this the alarming knowledge that 3% of 12-17 year olds have tried amphetamines, and the average age of first time users between 14 and 24 is under 19, and it is clear there is a meth amphetamine epidemic amongst the young.
SafeHouse is acutely aware of, and totally capable of treating alcohol dependence, as well as amphetamines, in its programs. Long term dependence, and excessive habitual binge consumption – both major manifestations of the alcohol problem in Australia – are extremely common issues noted by peoples’ enquiries to SafeHouse It’s often when ‘functional’ dependence turns to ‘chaos’ that a significant life changing event is thrust upon an individual. This exacerbates the progressive nature of alcohol dependence, and is hopefully the prerequisite to seeking the kind of help available in the SafeHouse Rehab Centre treatment programme.