Alcohol in Australia

Note by madeleineomalley, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by madeleineomalley almost 7 years ago


SOCY1030 Note on Alcohol in Australia, created by madeleineomalley on 10/30/2013.

Resource summary

Page 1

Alcohol abuse: involves using alcohol in harmful manner, but doesn't involve dependence - drinker goes for extended periods of time without drinking, e.g. binging

Alcohol dependence: involves using alcohol on daily basis for extended periods of time- compulsion to drink; feel less comfortable if not drinking

Symbolic uses of alcohol To define social situations or events - all cultures tend to have specifically designated places for drinking alcohol Indicator of social status As statement of affiliation As gender differentiator

Societal/Cultural Differences in Alcohol Consumption Important differences in behaviour of people who drink in different societies Aus, UK, USA - alcohol use and intoxication associated with anti-social behaviour  Greece, Italy - alcohol doesn't lead to violent behaviour Efforts to prohibit sale or consumption of alcohol have been universally unsuccessful, with possible exception of strict religious prohibitions in some cultures

Distribution of Alcohol Consumption in Australia, 2010 Top 1% of drinkers consume 11.8% of all alcohol Top 5% of drinkers consume 30.5% of all alcohol Bottom 50% of drinkers consume 8.8% of all alcohol Males consume about 65% of all alcohol consumed Females consume about 35% of all alcohol consumed Males consume 58.8 standards/mth (on average) Females consume 21.1 standards/mth (on average)

Annual number of deaths in Aus by drug, NDSHS 2007 Alcohol - 3000 Cannabis - 0 Ecstasy - 0-10 Amphetamines - 50-60

Annual number of hospital separations in Aus Alcohol - 43 003 Cannabis - 3095 Ecstasy - very few/no numbers available Amphetamines - 2192

Million Women's Study

Million Women's Study

Why do people drink alcohol? - Why drink at all; age and circumstances associated with first consumption; heavy/excessive consumption; binge drinking, drunkenness, alcohol use disorders Alcohol has long history of being associated with social activity - most (all?) societies have social rules about drinking alcohol and context in which alcohol is consumed

460-320BC - Grecian scholars issued advisories on drunkenness and moderate drinking Plato: alcohol shouldn't be used under age 18, between 18-30 in moderation, no restrictions for use by older than 40 11th c. AD, Simeon Seth (physician in Constantinople) wrote that drinking wine to excess caused inflammation of liver

Alcohol and Mood Alcohol impacts on reaction times, short and medium term memory, time it takes to do tasks, paretic. those involving coordination Impact of alcohol on mood and emotional scale less predictable and results of experimental research aren't conclusive

Why do people use drugs/drink alcohol? Structural explanations: cost, availability, acceptability Indiv. explanations: genetic, psychological, social

Kids from families where there are marital problems or where mum is smoker and consumes alcohol are more likely to drink Kids with early life history of delinquent behaviour (smoke and drink) are much more likely to have alcohol use problem when they grow up

Aggression/delinquency > alcohol use and misuse > aggression/crime

Medications e.g. Naltrexone in 1 important clinical trial, 19/20 placebo patients relapsed; 8/16 Naltrexone patients relapsed

Counselling Review of best clinical trials suggests modest reduction of drinking at follow-up

Support groups E.g. AA Possibly most effective treatment

Ineffective yet popular strategies Voluntary industry codes; e.g. of bar service Alcohol education in schools Public service messages Non-specific warning labels Promoting alternatives - alcohol free activities Designated drivers and ride services


10 best practices, based on international evaluation literature Alcohol control policies: minimum legal purchase age; gov. monopoly of retail sales; restrictions on hours of day sales; outlet density restrictions; alcohol taxes Drink-driving countermeasures: sobriety checkpoints; lowered BAC level; administrative licence suspension; graduated licensing for novice drivers; brief interventions for hazardous drinkers


More aggressive gov. action to reduce alcohol consumption Increase in tax on alcohol Increased control of alcohol advertising Tobacco use prevalence in Aus is now at 17% (v. low in global context) - due to successful gov. action?

Taxation options Volumetric taxation Minimum pricing General increase in taxation level

Alcopops 1990s, intro of "designer" drinks Alcohol soda, ciders, coolers Spirits mixed with soft drink or milk Beer with sugar, colour flavourings Increased advertising and branding to appeal to  lifestyle and image characteristics Use of names associated with recreational drugs Appeal to young people (15yrs -) who prefer sweet flavours which mask taste of alcohol

Pre-mixed canned party beveragesMalt-liquor energy drink called Four Loko that contains caffeine, guarana, taurine

Combining high-potency caffeinated drinks with alcohol is risky These drinks allow someone to drink for longer period of time This combination can increase drinking

Definitions; Society; Symbolic



Alcohol on the Market

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