Drinking culture patterns revealed in Australia by 2 separate reports

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th December 2012

Two reports by Deakin University and the Cancer Council Victoria respectively have made separate findings on alcoholic drinking patterns in Australia.

The Deakin University study is Australia’s largest study into alcohol-related crime. It found that the increasingly common practice of drinking before leaving to go to a nightclub is a major predictor of people experiencing harm or violence.

The study compared effectiveness of alcohol-related crime prevention measures put in place between 2005 and 2010 through licensing regulation in Newcastle (NSW) and voluntary programs run in Geelong (Victoria). The study found that measures that dealt directly with alcohol consumption employed in Newcastle, such as restricted trading hours, were the most effective in reducing alcohol-related crime.

A range of interventions were analysed in the study including locking patrons out of clubs after 1.30am, clubs closing by 3.30am, banning alcohol shots after 10pm and limits on the number of drinks being served.

Study author Associate Professor Miller said that the community surveys revealed that most people believed alcohol was a problem in their entertainment precincts.

“The night-time economies, such as nightclubs and bars, are an important part of our urban and regional centres. They provide entertainment and jobs for many people. However they are also places where violence and injury occur at great cost to the community,” Associate Miller said.

“This study provided a unique opportunity to evaluate what works and what doesn’t by comparing two cities with similar populations that implemented different approaches to reducing alcohol-related violence,” Associate Professor Miller added.

Underage binge-drinking on the rise

Meanwhile, Cancer Council Victoria conducted research into drinking habits of teenagers in 2011, and reported the findings this week.

The survey called “the 2011 Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) Survey” asked around 25,000 students aged between 12 and 17 years about their use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

The survey found that 45.1 per cent of current drinkers aged 16-17 years said they intend to get drunk every time they drink alcohol. Further, 20 per cent of 12-17 year olds had consumed alcohol in the previous seven days before the survey was conducted.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said that the statistics show that another generation is inheriting “risky behavior.”

“We know the drinking patterns of adolescents in the final years of secondary school can be predictive of their drinking levels in the early years of adulthood, so the fact that 16 to 17-year-olds are still binge drinking at around the same level as 2008 is concerning,” Mr Harper said.

“We urgently need to address the culture of drinking in Australia and this includes attitudes towards alcohol and better awareness of the health effects,” he added.