The Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation annual alcohol poll, Community Attitudes and Behaviours report that eight in ten people believe that there is a serious problem of excess drinking in their country, and yet 70 per cent of the people surveyed declare that they are comfortable with their own levels of drinking.
The Foundation's chief executive Michael Thorn states that people always think it is the others who have the problem. He adds, "We get that generally there's a problem, but culturally alcohol remains a key part of the way we socialise."
The survey revealed that, compared to older people of the 45-plus age group popularly known as baby boomers, young people, between 18 and 29, drink more. The survey reports, "Almost a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds that drink alcohol have six or more standard drinks in one sitting. Seventeen per cent of (all) drinkers admit to drinking to get drunk at least once a month." The older age group drink around three times during the week, but they do not drink as much.
Government policies do not seem to work as the problem has only worsened in the past decade or so. Although there is evidence that excessive drinking is connected to harmful health issues, and there are suggestions that the government should try to tackle it through tax and through mandatory warning labels on bottles and cans, critics like the chairman of the National Alcohol Beverage Industry Council, Peter Hurley says that these measures, by trying to solve the problems of a minority actually penalise the majority of the people.
He declares, "What the AERF fail to highlight is almost 90 per cent of Australians consume alcohol responsibly."
With such contradictory expressions, the problem of drinking in Australia can only get worse, not better.