Australian Pub Industry Rejects 4-Drink Binge Limit

by Thilaka Ravi on  June 16, 2008 at 2:43 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
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 Australian Pub Industry Rejects 4-Drink Binge Limit
New national guidelines to be released next month in Australia will classify both men and women drinking more than four standard drinks a night as binge drinkers.

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) is not too happy with the National Health and Research Council's impending move to set a benchmark of four standard drinks a night as the limit for binge drinking.

According to The Hotel Association's Tom McGuire, binge drinking is the gross over-indulgence of alcohol and not just having four drinks. He opines that the government should set a realistic limit.

"This is an indication that this sort of mentality is growing, and unfortunately it probably detracts from the real thrust—that is, to make people drink more responsibly," Tom Maguire said.

He also said, "I don't have that relevant expertise to say whether it's 40, 14 or four, but the term 'binge' to me just indicates gross over-indulgence and I don't think this latest would justify the term binge drinking."

"If you set unrealistic limits you lose the support of the population," he added.

Medical director of Drug Health Services at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Professor Paul Haber, is of the opinion that the term "binge drinking" refers to any elevated risk of health problems due to alcohol.

"If, let's say, a couple drank a bottle of wine every night, in fact that probably is too much and they probably are starting to slightly increase their risk of problems," Prof Haber said.

"But I think the point is because it's a dose-related risk if you're only a tiny bit above the recommended level then your risk is only elevated a tiny little bit," he added.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is of the view that the new guidelines for binge drinking could make people think twice about how much they are consuming.

According to The Association's national president, Rosanna Capolingua, though there has been a focus on binge drinking and it is high on people's minds, the new guidelines may come as a surprise to many.

"The definition of binge drinking is something that perhaps hasn't been brought down to the level of four drinks per night, four standard drinks per night," Capolingua said.

"I think many Australians will be reflecting on their habits at home and wonder whether we are binge drinking on a very regular basis."

"If we start thinking about four drinks a night being binge drinking, it will certainly make people think twice about having that fifth drink. Perhaps it'll make them think twice about having the third one," she added.

Source: Medindia

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