Australia: National Alcohol Strategy Prepared
A national plan to prevent and reduce the harm caused by alcohol is expected to be released in the coming months according to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
The alcohol strategy underwent a public consultation between December 2017 and February 2018, and will soon be finalised.
We’re looking to get the national alcohol strategy out within the next four months, so we’ll be working quickly with the states to finalise it, said Greg Hunt, Federal Health Minister, as per SBS News.
My view is get on with it, get it done, get it out there and get it implemented.”
The new strategy is badly needed to address several alcohol-related problems in Australia.
For example, an annual poll by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) conducted on people’s attitudes related to alcohol found less than half of the people were aware of the long-term heath effects of alcohol.
Less than a third (29%) of 1820 people surveyed were aware that alcohol use was linked with cancers of the mouth and throat, while just 16% knew about the link between alcohol and breast cancer.
FARE has called for evidence-based public awareness campaigns to highlight long-term alcohol harms. The Federal Health Minister stated the upcoming strategy will cover the public awareness aspect as well.
Alcohol harm in Australia
WHO reports Australia’s per capita alcohol consumption at 10.6 litres, which is comparatively above the average of the WHO Western Pacific region.
In Australia, alcohol is attributable to:
- 74.1% male and 62.5% female liver cirrhosis deaths,
- 48% male and 30.9% female deaths from road traffic injuries,
- 7.1% male and 3.7% female cancer deaths.
Furthermore, more than half of the youth between 15 to 19 years who use alcohol engage in heavy episodic alcohol (binge) use. 6.1% of Australian men suffer from alcohol use disorders which is also comparatively above the regional average.
With the stats and figures depicting the proportion of alcohol harm in Australia, the planned national strategy is crucial to address the alcohol problem in the country.