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The bad decision of drinking alcohol and driving

But drinking often affects others adversely, too. This is well recognised for drink driving, and once the size of the problem was established, policies were put in place that successfully drove down rates of drink-driving deaths and injuries. But there are a range of harms to others from drinking. These include effects on family life and members — sometimes just a bad moment, sometimes very serious. The drinker may spoil a family holiday, or may fail to pick up a child from preschool.

Drinking is often implicated in family violence and in child neglect.

  1. But we could and did answer the criticisms in detail.
  2. Click on the links below to read the other articles. But there are a range of harms to others from drinking.
  3. But there are a range of harms to others from drinking. In decisions about alcohol policy, the effects on others, and not just on the drinker, need to be taken into account.
  4. If we find that there are too many costs and sorrows, we need to start a serious policy discussion about how to reduce these harms.

There are effects on friends and on work life — friendships broken off, injuries in a drunken fight, work time spent filling in for a drinker or getting help for him or her.

And usually, a social problem needs to be quantified to focus our attention on it. We looked at how common the problems are, and the costs to people other than the drinker.

Commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Educationthe report looked at the problems through two windows. One window is the case records of the agencies that are the front line of response to problems in our society — the police, the ambulances, the hospitals, the child protection services.

This window shows us the more serious problems, the ones that come to official attention. Our report attracted a lot of interest internationally. Over a dozen countries, from every inhabited continent, are now conducting studies using the approaches in our report.

But we could and did answer the criticisms in detail.

Drugs and Alcohol

Or, we should find those responsible and punish or treat the problems away — maybe if we can get all the alcoholics into treatment or gaol, the problem will go away. The alternative is to decide that we need to do what was done with drink-driving — take the problem seriously, and take measures that actually have an effect.

  • Australia has been doing this with second-hand smoking, even though the proportion of the problems borne by others around the user is much smaller for tobacco than it is for alcohol;
  • And usually, a social problem needs to be quantified to focus our attention on it;
  • But the stakes are higher and the impact broader than that.

Australia has been doing this with second-hand smoking, even though the proportion of the problems borne by others around the user is much smaller for tobacco than it is for alcohol. Taking the problem seriously has to include rethinking policies of a free market in alcohol, with slabs or casks available around the clock and clubs and pubs open until five in the morning.

It will require addressing the constant alcohol ads playing to our children while they watch sports on television. If we find that there are too many costs and sorrows, we need to start a serious policy discussion about how to reduce these harms.

  1. The alternative is to decide that we need to do what was done with drink-driving — take the problem seriously, and take measures that actually have an effect.
  2. Our report attracted a lot of interest internationally.
  3. It will require addressing the constant alcohol ads playing to our children while they watch sports on television.
  4. There are effects on friends and on work life — friendships broken off, injuries in a drunken fight, work time spent filling in for a drinker or getting help for him or her.

But the stakes are higher and the impact broader than that. In decisions about alcohol policy, the effects on others, and not just on the drinker, need to be taken into account. This is the third part of our series looking at alcohol and the drinking culture in Australia. Click on the links below to read the other articles: