Nicholas Falconer

Drinking to denial: survey reveals dangerous habits

A NEW survey has found almost half of Australian adults drink dangerous levels of alcohol and most are in denial about its impact on their health.

More than 2000 adults from around the country participated in the VicHealth survey, which found 46% of people drank at levels associated with "significant risk of short-term harm" according to national guidelines.

VicHealth chief Jerril Rechter said the findings were a major concern.

"Eight out of 10 Australians (77%) aren't worried about their drinking, when in fact many drink at a level that is putting them at risk of short-term harm - with up to half of all younger people being classified as risky drinkers," she said.

Alcohol is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of drug-related death and hospitalisation in Australia.

In 2010, alcohol was the cause of 5544 deaths and more than 150,000 hospitalisations.

Ms Rechter said the country needed a conversation about why drinking to risky levels was so pervasive even though its dangers were common knowledge.

"The vast majority of people in this survey (87%) agreed that the health risks associated with consuming too much alcohol was a serious issue for the Australian community, but this typically doesn't translate when we look at our own drinking," she said.


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