In Australian society, alcohol is widely used and enjoyed. The alcohol intake of Canberrans, however, seems to be higher than anyone else’s in the nation, if data from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is to be believed.
More than 1 in 5 at risk of long-term harm
In an article for The Canberra Times, Claire Sibthorpe quotes Amy Ferguson, director of policy and research, as saying that while the rest of Australia is reducing its daily alcohol intake, daily alcohol intake in the Australian Capital Territory has risen to 6.6 per cent. Ferguson adds that at present, about 22 per cent of Canberrans are at risk of chronic alcohol-related long-term harm, compared with 18.2 per cent nationally.
She called on the government to take decisive action to put a stop to the harm alcohol is causing in the nation’s capital. She also expressed support for moves such as taxing all drinks based on their alcohol content, cracking down on alcohol sponsorship in sports, providing pregnant women and high-risk drinkers screening and brief intervention services and placing warning labels on liquor packaging.
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Australia’s drinking culture
Over the years, there have been numerous campaigns that aim to discourage people—teenagers in particular—from drinking. Alcohol, after all, is a drug, and it’s one of the most addictive ones out there. Judging by the increase in the number of drinkers in Canberra, those campaigns never really worked.
We believe the problem is not so much the availability of alcohol, but the general sense that we Australians are part of a heavy drinking culture, and that we somehow have to live up to that reputation. The proposed measures are admirable and all, but no government campaign or measure is going to cut it if Australians in general continue to believe that heavy drinking is a part of our identity. We all need to drop that belief, or alcohol will continue to ravage us for the foreseeable future and endanger others.