Young men urged to go easy on alcohol

Posted on: Monday, 20 June 2011

Over a third of young men in Victoria aged between 20 and 34 admit to consuming more than 11 drinks in a session, at least 12 times a year, statistics reveal.

And the rates of alcohol-related emergency department presentations for youths aged between 15 and 19 have more than tripled in the past decade.

Speaking as part of International Men's Health Week (June 13-19), Researcher Michael Livingston, from Eastern Health’s Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, says young men are at the forefront of excessive alcohol consumption.

Mr Livingston, who has extensively studied trends in alcohol consumption, said it was important young men were aware of the potential risks and harms associated with excessive drinking.
“Drinking too much alcohol may mean people take on risk-taking behaviour, which can also lead to assaults and injuries,” he said.

Statistics show:
• 38.7 per cent of men aged 20-34 years drank more than 11 drinks in a session, at least 12 times year. (1)
• Rates of alcohol-related emergency presentations among 15-19 year-old men have more than tripled in the past decade, while rates for 20-34 year olds have more than doubled.(2)
• Men aged 18-24 represent 35 per cent of victims of night-time weekend assaults and are victimised at rates more than double any other population group.(3)

Turning Point Director Professor Dan Lubman said people did not often view alcohol as a drug, but it was important to have frank discussions about the role alcohol plays in society.

“Drinking heavily and partying hard is sometimes seen as part of Australian culture. However, it is important people understand the risks and harms associated with excessive drinking,” he said.

Prof Lubman said encouraging responsible drinking habits was not about preventing people from having a good time, but ensuring they looked after themselves and their mates.
Support for people who have a problem with alcohol and other drug use is available through DirectLine, phone 1800 888 236.

(1) Figures for 2007 (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) in Michael Livingston, ‘Polarisation’: how can diverging trends in alcohol consumption be explained?, 2010, University of Melbourne, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR), Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. p 19
(2) Figures for 2007‐2008 in Livingston, p 14
(3) Figures for 2007‐2008 in Livingston, p 17