Footnote(s): (a) Risk to health in the long term. See Alcohol consumption risk level in the Health glossary.
Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2007-08 National Health Survey
The long-term effects of excessive alcohol consumption may increase people's risk of developing chronic illness, or may result in premature death. Excessive alcohol consumption can also have acute short-term effects, for example through an increased association with dangerous driving and violence that can lead to injury or death. Alcohol consumption, when mixed with prescription drugs, can also have further dangerous short-term side effects.
The proportion of Australians who reported that they consume alcohol has declined slightly in recent years. In 2007-08, 59% of adults had consumed alcohol in the week prior to interview compared with 62% in 2004-05 and 2001 (ABS 2009d).
Alcohol consumption can be classified to a risk level to health in the long-term (low risk, risky or high risk). Since 2001, the proportion of men and women drinking at levels considered risky or high risk to health in the long-term has increased slightly. In 2007-08, 13% of people aged 18 years and over consumed alcohol at a risky or high risk level in the week prior to interview, compared with 11% in 2001.
Overall in 2007-08, men were more likely to drink at a risky or high risk level than women (14% compared with 11%).
Short-term risk and young people
The short-term risks of excessive alcohol consumption affect individuals and society in a number of ways and may result in injury or premature death due to accidents and violence (ABS 2008b). In the 10 years from 1995-96 to 2004-05 an estimated 813,000 Australians (aged 15 years and over) were hospitalised for alcohol-attributable injury or disease (Pascal, Chikritzhs & Jones 2009).
In 2007–08, 13% of men (aged 15 years or over) drank alcohol at levels considered risky or high risk to health in the short-term at least once a week. This was much higher than for women (6%) and was highest for young men aged 15–24 years (15%) and men aged 25–44 years (16%) (ABS 2010c).
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