Alcohol Beverages Australia has refuted new research by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation that shows a lack of education about the dangers of risky drinking among young people.
More than half of 1000 Australians polled by the foundation last week didn’t know what a standard drink was and most were not sure or only have some idea of the recommended alcohol they should be consuming per day or week.
According to the research, 29% of 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed and 25% of 25 to 29-year-olds, did not associate alcohol with illness or injury. Over a quarter (27%) of 18 to 24-year-olds said they are now drinking more since COVID lockdowns.
However, the ABA noted that fewer young people are consuming alcohol than ever before. Recent data from the National Drug Strategy Household survey showed almost three quarters of 14-17 year olds have never consumed alcohol, rising from 32% just 20 years ago.
The ABA pointed out that the majority of Australians (83.2%) are not engaging in risky drinking practices and are consuming alcohol in moderation, within health guidelines.
CEO Andrew Wilsmore said: “Our youngest generation should be applauded, rather than demonised, as they are driving one of the most significant cultural changes we have ever seen.
“And those over 18 continue to reduce the amount and frequency of when they drink, with per capita consumption at 50 year lows.
“Like most Australians who consume in moderation, a beer watching sport, a glass of wine with dinner or a celebration cocktail is a normal part of Australian life.
“It should be unsurprising that younger people are legally celebrating more since coming out of COVID lockdowns. The majority of their drinking is occasion-based and with sport back on, dancing allowed and musicians reoccupying hospitality venues, young people are getting out and enjoying these activities again.
“Most Australians see risk through a very different lens than the NHMRC advice, which has been shown to not have provided Australians with the real facts to make informed decisions.
“Instead of trying to create a false sense of concern, Australian deserve a pat on the back for changing our culture to one where moderation is the norm.”