Alcohol misuse is a causal factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation of the gut and pancreas, heart and circulatory problems, sleep disorders, male impotency, and eye disease. Excessive alcohol consumption also raises the overall risk of cancer, including cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, breast and bowel.

In Australia about half the reported cases of interpersonal violence, domestic violence and sexual assault are related to excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol-fuelled incidents are also a factor in up to two thirds of police callouts and around half of homicides.

Since the corporate responsibility of the alcohol industry is to increase profits for its shareholders, governments should exercise considerable caution to ensure that harm minimisation remains at the core of legislative objectives, and that public health is prioritised over financial benefit.

Government agencies monitor and report incidents of alcohol-related harm and some of the costs associated with alcohol abuse, however, agencies do not monitor or report the total costs to the community through alcohol related trauma and law enforcement, meaning we do not have a complete picture of the harm caused by alcohol in terms of its costs and effects on society.

RACS supports mandatory collection of data on whether alcohol use is a factor in emergency department presentations, either by the patient or another individual, and mandatory collection of alcohol sales dates.

RACS endorses preventative measures as the best way to reduce alcohol-related harm (reduced trading hours and outlet density, and a volumetric tax on alcohol). We support coordinated efforts between governments, health professionals, health services and community organisations to reduce alcohol related harm and injury with evidence-based policy reform. 

Read the complete submission at the link below.