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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Alcohol ‘kills 15 Australians each day’

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A decade ago alcohol was responsible for 3,430 deaths per year. Now that figure stands at 5,554. Photo Flickr.com/einalem
A decade ago alcohol was responsible for 3,430 deaths per year. Now that figure stands at 5,554. Photo Flickr.com/einalem

Alcohol kills 15 and hospitalises 430 Australians every day, a new report says.

In a decade, the number of fatalities linked to alcohol has swelled by 62 per cent.

The report, called Alcohol’s Burden of Disease in Australia, shows an increasing number of deaths and disability, along with a larger burden on the health service and social impacts across Australia, according to Turning Point researcher Belinda Lloyd.

‘The reality is that the long-term effects aren’t just confined to one Saturday night, with serious health problems a genuine concern,’ Dr Lloyd said.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive Michael Thorn said urgent, national measures to address the price, promotion and availability of alcohol are needed to save lives.

‘A decade ago alcohol was responsible for 3,430 deaths per year. Now that figure stands at 5,554,’ Mr Thorn said.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said Australia’s drinking problem needs to be approached from all angles.

The report found injuries accounted for more than one in three alcohol-related deaths among Australian men, with cancer and digestive diseases causing 25 and 16 per cent respectively.

Among women, heart disease was the biggest alcohol-related killer, accounting for about a third of deaths.

The data from 2010 showed men were at far greater risk of alcohol-related harm than women.

More than 100,000 Australian men were hospitalised that year due to alcohol, compared with about 55,000 women.

In the same year, alcohol killed 3,467 men, compared to 2,087 women.

Northern Territory residents are three times more likely to die from alcohol use than other Australians, the research found.

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  1. And yet this drug alcohol is seen as just fine & legal by society, even though it has serious health negative death dealing results, as well as a lot of violence. Can we move on from the rum core days?
    Meanwhile, the cannabis plant is seen as not fine & illegal, even though it has never killed anyone any year anywhere on planet from direct use (not toxic like alcohol), and has many health benefit results, and is peaceful, not violent or aggro. Can we move on to proven safe & useful facts, above ground in control use as normal?
    The law against a plant is ridiculous & insane, the real crime. Why? For opposition profits against a safe useful plant, enforced by ignorance in society & politicians.
    The law and attitudes for alcohol depend on ignorance & cash. There needs to be education about facts & better control of alcohol. The same applies to tobacco, very different to cannabis. Check out the Prof of pulmonology Don Tashkin long term report studies which show tobacco to be very dangerous but cannabis not dangerous, also videos.

    Thanks for your article about what is dangerous, and that is alcohol, one of the most dangerous drugs there is! Dangerous & legal, under controlled, society says great? Not dangerous and illegal, over controlled, society says great? Smart species eh? Follow the money for the corruption & ignorance.

  2. This is a health issue which I believe has been swept under the rug by the all-powerful hotels and liquor lobby: for more info and a great read besides…. Check out High Sobriety, a twelve month account of a young female journo who gave up booze for a year, written by Melbournian Jill Stark…. Dare I say a stark portrayal of the Aussie drinking culture!

  3. Crikey says: alcohol wowsers not helping public health

    The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education got the media grab it wanted today with its new report: “Alcohol kills 15 Australians every day”. The ever-wowserish head of FARE, Michael Thorn, was on hand to lament that Australia’s “alcohol problem” isn’t getting any better. “There’s no question that alcohol has never been more affordable and more available in this country.”

    As Crikey explained last week, that’s nonsense. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows Australians are drinking substantially less, even compared to just a few years ago, let alone decades ago, when we drank up to a third more than we do now.

    As for FARE’s “15 a day” number, it’s a confection, devised by attributing alcohol as the primary factor in a range of causes of death, then adding up the numbers based on cause of death data. The study claims, for instance, that 54% of all deaths from breast cancer can be attributed to alcohol.

    By ignoring independent data on alcohol and by inventing its own figures on the impact of alcohol, the public health lobby is becoming increasingly disconnected from the real world of Australians, who don’t view alcohol as akin to smoking (one of the goals of the public health lobby) and who have demonstrated they are capable of working out for themselves the right balance in what they consume.

    If the public health lobby wants to have a meaningful positive impact on the lives of Australians, it needs to abandon the hysteria and start dealing with facts.


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