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AMA Victoria says enjoy Australia Day but don't let alcohol fuelled violence ruin the day

24 January 2013

Australia Day is second only to New Years Eve as the worst day of the year for drunkenness and assaults for people under the age of 25, according to research conducted by VicHealth.

It found that ambulance attendances, emergency department presentations and admissions, assaults and traffic incidents peak during public holidays in the summer months.

AMA Victoria President and Emergency Physician Dr Stephen Parnis believes our drinking culture needs to be addressed.

“Two thirds of young people reportedly binge drink and research shows us that young people disproportionately show up in hospital with alcohol related injuries”.

“The effects of alcohol abuse can also be seen in the longer term. Brain development can be impaired due to early alcohol use and young people can form heavy drinking habits which they take into adulthood,” Dr Parnis said.

On Australia Day ambulance attendances for intoxicated young people more than double and this does not take into account the external effect drunkenness and aggressive behaviour has on the wider community.

“Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to over 3,000 deaths and 65,000 hospitalisations each year. The harms of alcohol outweigh the harms of all other drugs combined. Alcohol has been causally linked to more than 60 different medical conditions. Alcohol is also associated with many negative social outcomes.”

“As an emergency physician nothing saddens me more than alcohol fuelled violence, it’s dangerous, destructive and life threatening,” said Dr Parnis.

AMA Victoria warns of the potential dangers of Australia Day. Excessive alcohol intake and sun exposure can lead to anti-social behaviour, dehydration and heat illness. Please enjoy the festivities but remain socially aware, hydrated and sun smart.

AMA Victoria President and Emergency Physician Dr Stephen Parnis is available to comment.

For further information please contact Luke Buesnel on 0437 450 506.

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