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What is the issue?

In everyday use, alcohol usually refers to drinks such as beer, wine, or spirits containing ethyl alcohol, a substance that can cause drunkenness and changes in consciousness, mood, and emotions. It is these intoxicating and psychoactive effects that lead to so many accidents, injuries, diseases, and disruptions in the family life of everyday Australians.
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Who It affects

Due to the different ways that alcohol can affect people, there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone. People choosing to drink must realise that there will always be some risk to their health and social well-being.Research has shown than driving after drinking alcohol can increase the risk of crashing by up to 11 times. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the risk of crash. Australia research has shown that, compared to more experienced drivers (those who have been driving for 5 years or more), first-year Provisional drivers are three times more likely to be injured in a crash if they have been drinking.

Statistics

  • The proportion of the population who consumed alcohol daily declined between 2007 (8.1%) and 2010 (7.2%).
  • A higher proportion of 12-17 year olds abstained from alcohol (61.6%) than had consumed it in the last 12 months (38.4%).
  • The proportion of 12-15 year olds and 16-17 year olds abstaining from alcohol increased in 2010 (from 69.9% in 2007 to 77.2% in 2010 and from 24.4% to 31.6%, respectively).
  • In 2010, 1 in 5 people aged 14 years or older consumed alcohol at a level that put them at risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over their lifetime, and this remained stable between 2007 (20.3%) and 2010 (20.1%). However, the number of people drinking in risky quantities increased from 3.5 million in 2007 to 3.7 million in 2010.
  • About 2 in 5 (39.7%) people aged 14 years or older drank, at least once in the last 12 months, in a pattern that placed them at risk of an alcohol-related injury from a single drinking occasion; but there was a modest by statistically significant decline in risky drinking over the previous 12 months from 2007 (41.5%).

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