The top ten per cent of Australia’s boozy population downs more than half of the alcohol consumed in the country, according to new research – and the Brits are even worse.
Two researchers from the La Trobe University, Australia, uncovered the eye popping statistic from two surveys: the 2013 International Alcohol Control Study and the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, as well as more recent research work.
“We found that the heaviest drinking 10 per cent of Australians drink 54.4 per cent of all alcohol consumed in Australia,” said Michael Livingston, co-author of the paper published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health and an alcohol policy expert at La Trobe University, on Thursday this week.
The paper also highlighted the intoxicating habits of other countries too. The US fares slightly worse. Ten per cent of America’s population guzzled about 55 per cent of all the boozy beverages. But it looked even more diabolical for the Brits - just four per cent of its population glugged a whopping 30 per cent of all its alcohol and they easily outpace Aussies and Americans.
Livingston and his colleague Sarah Callinan, also a researcher at La Trobe’s Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, found that Australia’s top alcoholics were more likely to be middle-aged men living in rural areas.
“We know that rural areas have disproportionately high levels of consumption and alcohol-related harm compared to metropolitan areas. We found that 16 per cent of this heavy-drinking subset live in outer regional and remote areas, compared with 10 per cent of other drinkers."
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They also were more likely to chug cheap alcohol like cask wine and beer, drinking up to six glasses a day. The duo believe that targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption. Superstores often exacerbate the problem with special offers, promotions and discounts luring consumers to drink more.
Michael Thorn, chief executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, an non-profit health organisation in Australia, said shops like Woolworths contributed to crime and injury.
"An earlier study found that each additional chain outlet is associated with a 35.3 per cent increase in intentional injuries, including assaults, stabbing, or shooting, and a 22 per cent increase in unintentional injuries, including falls, crushes, or being struck by an object.
"Clearly government has a responsibility to address the problem of cheap alcohol by fixing the way alcohol is taxed, introducing floor prices and halting the proliferation of harm-causing packaged alcohol sales," he said. ®