Responsible alcohol consumption is not a problem. Alcohol has been a part of the Australian culture since rum was the currency in the first years of colonial settlement. However, when drinking to get drunk becomes the norm for a lot of people, the individual and the community has a problem.
A survey by the Victorian Department of Health, released in 2012, has shown 51.9 percent of adult Victorian males and 38.2 percent of Victorian females put themselves at risk of harm due to their drinking at some time.
This is far worse in regional Victoria. 61.1 per cent of males consumed enough alcohol to put themselves at short-term risk of alcohol-related harm. Given the rates of drink fuelled domestic violence, street violence, accidents on the roads and at work and health impacts, you have to ask when enough is enough.
There is even a new and rather pathetic social media fad called a “neknomination” where one person skulls an alcoholic drink then challenges friends to do the same. Not exactly something to be proud of. It is also not helping when multi-national supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths have cheap alcohol advertised on the bottom of every receipt you get after shopping there.
It is time to become a nation of responsible drinkers and the NSW Government with their recent changes of laws is a fantastic start. The alcohol industry is all powerful and targets young women and girls in particular. Sadly these young female drinkers often go on giving birth to brain damaged babies because they drink during pregnancy.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is now the biggest cause of brain damage in newborns in Australia. The damage is permanent but it is 100 percent preventable. When innocent young lives are also lost because a drunken fool punches them on the street, where the high risk drinker hurts so many others around them, it has to be time to say enough is enough.