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Australian Medical Assocation urges renewed government focus on addressing alcohol harms

Date posted: 10 August 2015

Ahead of Federal Parliament resuming next week, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling on the Government to renew its focus on addressing the many ways that the misuse of alcohol is causing harm across the Australian community.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today that the AMA acknowledges that some governments are working on new solutions and actions to address alcohol-related harms that touch the lives of most Australians – but it is too slow.

'It is nine months since the AMA National Alcohol Summit in Canberra, which called on the Australian Government to drive all our governments in the development of a new National alcohol strategy,” Professor Owler said. 'The response from most governments has been slow, but the tragic results of alcohol abuse continue at a fast pace, taking lives, destroying health, fueling domestic violence, breaking up families, and ruining lives.'

'Alcohol-related violence, chronic disease, accidents, and death occur frequently, and harm not only the individual drinker, but also families, bystanders, and the wider community.'

'As doctors, AMA members see the devastating effects of alcohol abuse too often - from victims of domestic abuse in the local general practice to the victims of car accidents and senseless violence turning up in emergency departments.'

'We are not calling for a ban on alcohol: we are calling for a safer and more responsible drinking culture in this country.'

'A National alcohol strategy agreed and owned by all Australian governments is needed to help drive this important change. We need it now. It will save lives.'

The 2014 AMA Alcohol Summit identified that a new National alcohol strategy should include measures that specifically respond to the particular needs and preferences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Source: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation communique

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Last updated: 11 August 2015
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute