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Alcohol Abuse Major Cause Of Festive Fear

Author: News
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
A national market research has revealed over 2.2 million Australians over 14 experienced physical and/or verbal abuse throughout the December-January festive period from someone under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Alcohol Education & Rehabilitation Foundation, approximately 700,000 drinkers claimed they initiated verbal or physical abuse towards others and more than 30 per cent of teenagers claimed they feared for the well-being of their family and friends as a consequence of excess drinking.

Other results from the report include:

- Around 2.6 million Australians know someone who was injured or harmed through excess
alcohol over the period.

- Over 2.4 million Australians were, at some time over the Christmas / New Year period,
concerned for their safety, or the safety of their friends due to exposure to excess
alcohol.

- Approximately 45 per cent of 14-17 year olds Australia wide claim they knew someone
who was injured or harmed as a result of drinking excessively.

AER CEO Daryl Smeaton said the results were 'alarming' and 'illustrate the widespread climate of fear and abuse being created by everyday excess drinking'.

"I can't imagine any reasonable Australian would find the scale of abuse revealed by this study
acceptable," he stated, adding, "Perhaps the greatest concern is the vulnerability of our young people.

"Australians need to ask themselves - is this the environment we want our children to grow up in-

'Many Australians now recognise we have a national drinking problem, but when it comes to our everyday drinking habits, most people are more comfortable turning a blind eye.

"Alcohol is second only to smoking in its contribution to the chronic disease burden in Australia and is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths, after tobacco."

Smeaton also states that the government has 'acknowledged that alcohol misuse is one of the three main contributors to chronic disease in Australia'.

"Mr Rudd's team made a powerful pre-election commitment to undertaking preventative work to help reduce this. AER is calling on the Government to urgently follow through on this important promise and to vastly improve on the Howard Government's alcohol package announced in the 2006 Budget.'
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