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Drink, drank, drunk: Study sheds light on Aussies' relationship with alcohol

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A few beers at the pub might be a fun weekend or after-work activity but a new report is raising the alarm about Australia’s alcohol problem.

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The report by Latrobe University researchers reveals that five per cent of Australians drank more than a third (36.1 per cent) of all alcohol sold.

They also averaged almost eight (7.83) drinks a day per person.

“This level of drinking is nearly double the national guideline of drinking no more than four drinks per day to reduce risk of injury and disease,” said lead author Megan Cook from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at Latrobe.

The authors relied on the latest data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey in 2019 – the country’s largest survey on alcohol use.

Analysis of the heaviest-drinking 10 per cent of the population found that regular strength beer and cask wine was their most common choice.

This cohort was more likely to be men than women and also more likely to live in rural and regional towns. They also tended to range from ages 40 to 59 (25 per cent).

In addition, they were boozing in many places including at home, in pubs and clubs as well as in public spaces.

Luke Hutchins of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, which commissioned the report, said alcohol companies were profiting most from people who drank at the heaviest levels.

“This report clearly shows that alcohol companies rely on exploiting risky drinking with a large proportion of their sales relying on people who drink the most,” Mr Hutchins said.

“Alcohol companies are using digital marketing to easily identify, and target people based on purchasing history to push their products around the clock.

He called for greater controls on alcohol companies exploiting at-risk drinkers.

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