(This is an achieved file from ANCD)
The calls for everyone to take responsibility for their own drinking are fair enough but without governments and industries willing to act responsibly, it rings more than a bit hollow.
In the meantime police, hospitals and those of us just wanting a night out without any trouble are left to bear the brunt of our governments’ current inability to enact policies that will have a real impact on the culture of intoxication and its accompanying aggression.
The incessant advertising, promotion and availability of alcohol continues unashamedly. Billboards, buses, sporting venues, newspapers, television and even sportspeople all succumb to the alcohol industry’s need for promotion. All becoming ever more dependent on the alcohol dollar they serve. At the same time many drinkers think that it’s always the other person that needs to show personal responsibility and restraint. A recent comment posted to an article on reducing alcohol problems was typical of a wider view when it said – “how about actually punishing people that play up on the grog and leave the rest of us alone”
A snapshot of the ‘other person’s’ problems shows that 60% of all police attendances, including 90% of late-night calls, involve alcohol. Unsurprising really given 36% of drinkers say their primary purpose when drinking is ‘to get drunk’. 13% of deaths of young people are attributed to alcohol and thousands of people are still arrested each month for drink driving despite what everyone knows. It’s an ugly picture which is estimated to cost more than $15.3 billion a year.
In response, the Australian National Council on Drugs developed a plan that seeks to change the way we drink, the way we price alcohol and the ways in which we allow it to be promoted and accessed. It seeks to change the dangerous aspects of our drinking culture.
However, the Council understands that many in the public enjoy having a drink and don’t want to have excessive restrictions imposed because of the sins of others. The solution in part lies with the alcohol industry, from production to retail, and the growing need for them to support ways to mitigate this bloodbath beyond miniscule messages on labels and smart looking advertising campaigns. After all those in charge at Woolworths and Coles, as the two biggest retail profiteers from alcohol, would never accept the harm we see happening today happening to their own families. Their courage to change course will allow governments to seek change and will stop their further slide into the ‘big tobacco’ playbook.
It really is time the alcohol industry and governments admitted we have a problem and need their help not more booze.