Diverging trends in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm in Victoria

Michael Livingston, Sharon Matthews, Monica Jane Barratt, Belinda Lloyd, Robin Room

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To examine recent trends in alcohol-related harm and risky drinking in Victoria, Australia. Methods:The study compiled eight measures of alcohol-related harm from published and unpublished sources, covering data relating to health, crime, alcohol treatment and traffic crashes for the financial years 1999/2000 to 2007/08. In addition, published estimates of short and long-term risky drinking from three- sets of surveys between 2001 and 2007 were examined. Results: Six of the eight harm indicators substantially increased, while only alcohol-related mortality and single-vehicle night-time crashes remained relatively stable. In particular, rates of emergency presentations for intoxication and alcohol- related ambulance attendances increased dramatically. Contrastingly, survey-derived estimates of the rate of risky-drinking among Victorians were stable over the time-period examined. Conclusions: Evidence across the data examined suggests significant increases in alcohol-related harm taking place during a period of relatively stable alcohol consumption levels. This disparity may be accounted for by changing drinking patterns among small, high-risk, subgroups of the population. Implications: The sharply increasing rates of alcohol-related harm among Victorians suggest that changes to alcohol policies focusing on improving public health are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-373
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

Keywords

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Emergency medicine
  • Trends
  • Violence

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