Boozy behaviour in decline
15 January 2018
Official Australian Government data shows that underage drinking and alcohol misuse is continuing a dramatic decline. More needs to be done, but we are clearly tracking in the right direction.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 82% of 12 to 17-year-olds do not drink any alcohol at all. This confirms a long-term trend of continuous improvement, up from 56.5% in 2007.
While we focus on the 18% that have tried alcohol, the trend is overwhelmingly positive.
Further, those aged 12-17 drinking at lifetime risky patterns fell from 4.2% in 2010 to 1.3% in 2016 and that those aged 12-17 at risk of drinking harm on a single occasion fell from 14.1% in 2010 to 5.4% in 2016.
The age of having a first drink continues to rise. Of the 18% of teens who tried alcohol, the age of first drink has moved from 14 years in 2004 to 16 years in 2016.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has charted a dramatic decline in alcohol consumption per capita, which has fallen, decade on decade, for more than 40 years.
Since peak alcohol consumption of 12.9 pure litres per head of population in the mid-1970s, consumption has fallen by 25%.
For beer, over the same period, consumption has fallen from 9.5 litres per capita to 3.9 litres today (in pure alcohol) and one quarter of all beer sales in Australia today are for light or mid-strength.
In general, today's drinkers are more discerning, better informed and better equipped socially regarding responsible alcohol consumption than ever before. Yet we must do more to tackle persistent misuse and anti-social behaviour.
Brewers Association of Australia
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