Nicholas Falconer

Aussies urged to create more responsible drinking culture

DOCTORS have called on all Australians to play their part in creating a more responsible "drinking culture".

The Australian Medical Association began a two-day conference on alcohol in Canberra, with president Associate Professor Brian Owler on Tuesday declaring that the nation "has a problem with alcohol".

He said the health, social and economic burden caused by alcohol in Australia was "substantial and unacceptable" and it was time to "shine a spotlight" on the problem.

"A range of factors - including the social acceptability of hazardous alcohol use, the marketing and glamorisation of alcohol, and the ready availability of alcohol and its affordability - contributes to harmful alcohol use in the Australian community," Assoc Prof Owler said.

Assoc Prof Owler said the medical community was not calling for a ban on alcohol, but a safer and more responsible drinking culture, in order to save lives.

"More than half of Australian drinkers consume alcohol in excess of the recommended intake, and one in five Australians drink alcohol at a level that puts them at risk of lifetime harm for injury or disease,' he said.

"As doctors, AMA members see the devastating effects of alcohol abuse every day - from victims of domestic abuse in the local general practice to victims of car accidents and senseless violence in our emergency departments."

The AMA's alcohol summit continues on Wednesday.

- APN NEWSDESK


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