Jun 1, 2017

Depressing news for the nanny state — alcohol consumption falls again

As nanny statists look to demonise the "alcohol epidemic" in ever more dramatic terms, yet more evidence has emerged that Australians drink responsibly.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The latest national drugs survey shows alcohol consumption hitting new lows -- and dramatic falls in public support for measures to restrict alcohol consumption.

In what will be a bitter blow for anti-alcohol campaigners in the public health lobby, Australia's most authoritative health survey, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, shows significant falls in alcohol consumption in the last three years, despite claims from lobby groups like the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education about an "alcohol epidemic" and a predatory alcohol industry destroying Australian lives. 

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14 thoughts on “Depressing news for the nanny state — alcohol consumption falls again

  1. Timble

    Gawd. This is awful. Down there with Helen Razer. My subscription expires today. What to do…hmmmm

  2. drsmithy

    Given how ferociously expensive booze is here, it’s not surprising to see consumption dropping, especially as disposable incomes dry up.

    1. Lasso

      Agreed Drsmithy – although I think Bernard, and the public in general, are missing the bigger point… other drugs are just far cheaper than alcohol these days…
      Since the late 90s, the comparative affordability and rising prevalence of ecstasy alone can take credit for the reductions in alcohol consumption – with violence attributable to these and stronger classes of drugs…
      Alcohol is attacked because it is visible and taxable – but the rising cost has now caused far more issues in terms of other drugs being the “go-to” for young folk at an ever increasing rate.
      Stop “thinking” in a vacuum people, and start looking at the bigger picture – this being one of many “issues” only being half thought about

  3. mikeb

    No surprise to me. I used to drink far more that the kids I’m around do these days. We didn’t have party drugs however.

  4. Zeke

    If these surveys are self-reported, and there’s a continuous demonisation of alcohol in the media then it stands to reason that people will increasingly under report their levels of alcohol use. Are alcohol sales declining? You didn’t mention any decline in sales, Bernard, which would be a far more accurate measure of alcohol use than the self reporting of people who like to appear as healthy drinkers in a world of increasing “nanny state alcohol demonisation”. It’s like Margaret Court saying that there were far fewer lesbians playing tennis in her day. We know that there weren’t.. they just didn’t tell anyone.

    1. Liam Bourke

      There has been a huge drop in alcohol sales. I work for a large brewer, and beer sales are at
      their lowest since 1947 – that’s not %, that’s volume in total; considering the population increase since, that represents a huge drop.

  5. Sense Seeker

    Again all manner of unsupported but tendentious statements. NSW restrictions on late-night alcohol trading, had a “draconian” impact? Like what? Surely you didn’t fall for the hype created by the alcohol industry? And what about the drop in presentations in emergency departments? The reductions in crime? (See e.g. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/lockout-laws-have-reduced-numbers-hospitalised-due-to-alcoholrelated-violence-20150415-1mlliy.html).
    Bernard, don’t fall for cheap propaganda by a powerful industry. We really expect more critical thinking from Crikey.

  6. Emanuel Grima

    So when is the time coming that I can go to a bar and order a straight scotch without the bar person telling me that I can’t have it straight and then proceed to add water, or ice, or lolly water to it?

    1. AR

      I’ve never been in a bar or pub – is that true or are you exaggerating to make a point ?

      1. Fred Bloggs

        Under the current NSW laws straight spirits count as “shots” and are not able to be served after 8pm in many venues.

        This is enforced the same for a 15 year old lagavulin or a bundy OP.

  7. Charlie Chaplin

    Wow. Very, VERY interesting report. I’ve been told Australians are a nation of heavy drinkers ( drunks) my entire life and I’m 52. Thanks, BK. Duly shared.

  8. Altakoi

    I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time Bernard, and I don’t really know why you have this one issue on which you are a loon given your usually very insightful reportage. Anyhow, as a public health official I had a good chortle over an article which basically asserted I would be upset about a list of improvements in a dire situation. Looking at the AIHW website, I assume this report of problem-solved-nothing-more-to-see-here is the one in which 1 in 5 peple still consume alcohol at a dangerous level, 32% of drug treatment episodes were for alcohol etc etc. Cherry pick if you will, its better but its still bad.

    1. Fred Bloggs

      Is 3 schooners still “binge drinking”?

  9. Northy

    Bernard why does it feel like you turn into an over-egging fact-lite Daily Tele reporter every time you report on alcohol and the preventative health sector?

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