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Reducing alcohol-related violence and other harm in Australia

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We need to increase alcohol taxation and reduce hours of sale to reduce alcohol-related harms

Alcohol can harm drinkers and non-drinkers as a result of the acute effects of alcohol intoxication (eg, injuries, car crash deaths, assaults and suicides) and the effects of sustained heavy drinking (alcohol dependence, liver disease, heart disease, strokes and cancers). In the most recent study of the behavioural risk factors that contribute to the Australian burden of disease, alcohol was the third most important (5.1%) after tobacco smoking (9%) and high body mass (5.5%). It accounted for 28% of road traffic crash burden of disease, 24% of chronic liver disease and 23% of self-inflicted injury.1

Community concern about alcohol in recent years in Australia has focused on violence and injury in the wake of several high profile deaths of young men killed by the punches of intoxicated assailants. The efforts of parents, public health advocates and medical professionals who have to deal with alcohol-related violence have led several state governments to introduce a suite of policies to reduce alcohol-related violence. These have included legislating for shorter trading hours and the timing of last drinks in hotels and nightclubs in city entertainment precincts.2,3 There is good evidence to support some of these approaches.…