Alcohol harms – a national problem that needs a national solution

30 Oct 2014

The two-day AMA National Alcohol Summit was held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra this week. The Summit featured key political, medical, public health, and community leaders; police; families of victims; and other stakeholders who came together to discuss the range of harms that alcohol brings to the Australian community, and develop practical solutions to produce a safer, more responsible drinking culture in Australia. 

“The health, social, and economic burden caused by alcohol in Australia is substantial and unacceptable. Alcohol-related violence, chronic disease, accidents, and death occur frequently. These incidents harm not only the individual drinker, but also families, bystanders, and the wider community,” said AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler.

“The range and extent of alcohol-related harms are alarming. Even more alarming is that the number of people harmed by alcohol is increasing. As doctors, AMA members see the devastating effects of alcohol abuse every day – from victims of domestic abuse in the local general practice to victims of car accidents and senseless violence in our emergency departments.

“A range of factors – including the social acceptability of hazardous alcohol use, the marketing and glamorisation of alcohol, and the ready availability of alcohol and its affordability – contributes to harmful alcohol use in the Australian community.

“This Summit gives us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on this major national problem,” A/Prof Owler said.

AMA President’s compelling speech to the AMA National Alcohol Summit

AMA President's closing remarks