Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia.
According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey conducted in 2010, it found that:
87.9% of Australians aged over 14 years had drunk alcohol at some stage in their life.
39.5% of drinkers consumed alcohol on a weekly basis.
51.6% of Australian drinkers consume alcohol in excess of the Australian Guidelines,
with 25.9% consuming more than the recommend maximum of 2 standard drinks per day.
(Center for Alcohol Policy Research, 2013, Over the limit PDF1.5MB).
1 in 6 Australian drinkers consume more than 11 drinks per occasion on a monthly basis.
(Center for Alcohol Policy Research, 2013, Measuring risky drinking PDF:1.2MB).
The average age at which Australians first tried alcohol was 17.0 years.
-See more at: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/topics/quick-statistics#alcohol
Over this holiday season, many of you have an abundance of social plans; you may be going out to a friends house party, or you may be going to the city to experience the fireworks.
Any why shouldn't you? This time the year before last, we were all so grateful to still be here as the world didn't end on the 21st of December like the Mayan calendar predicted; and that we may have started the New Year celebrations a little earlier then usual.
The New Year's celebrations is just that, a celebration of everything that you have accomplished in the last 12 months, and a promise to improve/change even more for the year to come.
But unfortunately it is this time of the year where alcohol consumption more then triples in monthly figures: there are more road accidents where either the victim and /or the driver are inebriated by drink.
With an average of 140 deaths, New Year's Day is the second most deadly day for drivers,
(According to Anne Fleming of the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, based on statistics from 2002 to 2008).
Pedestrians are at an elevated risk on these days as well, perhaps due to alcohol consumption and/or inclement weather.
In comparison to other holidays, a higher percentage (42%) of traffic deaths over this holiday period were due to drunk driving
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA))
And it's not just drink drivers who are at risk either. Many young teenagers will try their first drink this New Year's, either due to parents allowing their child a taste of alcohol to encourage safe drinking habits;
or there are those children who will wait for their parents to turn away, occupied with family and friends, before they sneaking away with a bottle or even sipping from a wine glass.
Either way it is impossible to keep an eye on everyone all the time.
Even young adults who are spending their New Year with friends are at risk because with everyone drinking, there may not be that one person to say "enough is enough."To have that one voice of reason; to look out for the others and to make them stop drinking when they have had to much.
I have been guilty of drinking too much a few New Years Eve's ago: I was working late, and when I finally got to the party I decided to catch up on five hours worth of drinking in one hour.
A long night later I was unconscious and had been violently ill. I was lucky though, the house party was at a family friend's and where my parents were also.
As much as I wanted to drink to enjoy myself and to be merry for the New Year; my first day of the new year was spent in the bathroom with my head in a bucket. And while my parents never left my side and spent the whole night and day watching over me to make sure I wasn't in any serious danger; the disappointment in their faces that I had been that irresponsible was all the telling off I needed.
And it is to this day that I haven't drank excessively on any night out, especially on New Year's. I have become the voice of reason to my friends and am thankful for it.
Anything can happen while you are inebriated by alcohol: you may think your invincible but your not.
Watch what you drink and how much over a period of time. Yes it's fun to do shots and then chug a pint of beer, but your stomach and head will not thank you later.
Your parents my seem like fusspots and may sound like they don't want you to have fun. Not true, they do but they want you to have fun responsibly.
Rethink your Drink. if your body is telling you enough is enough, even if it hasn't reached midnight yet, just stop. Don't drown it out with more drink.
Alcohol poisoning isn't pretty and can be very dangerous.