Almost 2,000 people are dying each year from alcohol-related injury, including suicide, accidental poisoning, road accidents and falls, new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed today.
The AIHW report shows that the rate of deaths from alcohol-related injury has more than doubled in a decade, from 4.8 to 9.7 deaths per 100,000 people. There were 1,946 alcohol-related injury deaths in 2019-20, representing almost one in seven deaths from injury, and 30,000 people were hospitalised with falls, intentional self-harm and assault the leading causes.
Alcohol was involved in one in four hospitalisations for self-harm and one in five hospitalisations due to assault.
Four in five people who died from alcohol-related injury, and three in five who were hospitalised, were male.
The AIHW report said the true number of alcohol-related injury hospitalisations and deaths was likely higher, as hospitals did not always record the presence of alcohol.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) CEO Caterina Giorgi said:
“Every life lost is a tragedy. We should not forget that behind these numbers and statistics are real people — our family members, our friends, our community.”
“This new data from the AIHW is particularly heartbreaking because we know that these alcohol-related injuries and deaths are largely preventable.”
“At a time when our hospitals and healthcare systems are at breaking point, preventing injuries from alcohol is critical to alleviating some of this pressure.”
“Alcohol companies were actively promoting their products as a way to cope with stress and anxiety during the pandemic.
“This behaviour is particularly upsetting when you see the significant role that alcohol plays in suicide and hospitalisations relating to self-harm.”
“Alcohol companies are taking advantage of a lack of regulation to use highly personal data to ply people most at risk of harm with social media ads for alcoholic products, including children.”
“Governments across Australia need to be doing more to prevent the significant harms from alcohol, including injury and death.”
“State governments can introduce common-sense reforms to address the rapid delivery of alcohol, which we now know is linked to higher risk drinking.”
“The federal government can ensure the community is better protected from being targeted by alcohol companies on social media by including strong privacy protections in the Privacy Act, which is currently under review.”
Support is available by calling the National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline (1800 250 015) or Lifeline (13 11 14). A full list of support services is available here.