With the “festive season”, marked by Christmas, New Year’s Day and Boxing Day now well and truly behind us, Aussie alcohol businesses have since been lining their shelves in preparation for today’s Australia Day (January 26, 2016).
However, in a damning report commissioned and published online by the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) on January 20, 2016, health experts and government officials have expressed concern regarding our population’s alcoholic behaviour, typical of the “festive season”, which appears to have no end in sight.
The ‘Risky Business: The alcohol industry’s dependence on Australia’s heaviest drinkers’ report is based on findings from a Centre for Alcohol Policy Research study entitled ‘Understanding recent trends in Australian alcohol consumption’, published online the FARE website on July 15, 2015 that cited more than 1.9 million Australians drink, on average, more than six standards drinks per day – triple the volume recommended by National Health Guidelines.
Findings from the report highlight how the Australian alcohol industry relies on 3.8 million Australians, or 20 per cent of our population, averaging more than four standard drinks a day. If this number was to fall in line with National Health Guidelines recommendations of two drinks per day, our total, national alcohol consumption would be slashed by 39 per cent.
This spurious collaboration between public health researchers and the alcohol industry was canvassed in a blog published by VIVA! Communications on January 23, 2016, entitled ‘True or false – True or false – alcohol plays no role in violence’, regarding research commissioned by Australian brewing company Lion that suggested drinking does not cause violence, but rather, a violent culture causes violence.
In the SMH story, FARE Chief Executive, Michael Thorn, argued the alcohol industry was exploiting its “best customer” – the individual who consumes more than four drinks per day.
“The alcohol industry is totally dependent on risky drinking, ”Mr Thorn said.
The concern for Australians is this constant abuse of drinking, as a means of “celebration”, may in fact, be giving rise to a host of associated health complications, such as liver disease, digestive disorders, diabetes and cancer.
To learn more about the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption, head to the National Health and Medical Research Council website.