Our Say: It looks like we are finally growing up

Finally it looks like as a nation we are growing up – when it comes to our approach to alcohol at least.

A new Drinkwise  report compares the drinking culture of 2017 with 2007 – and the results are encouraging.

It used to be that going out and getting ‘smashed’ on a Friday night was seen as the thing to do.

But according to this latest research, in 2017 we are drinking “more moderately and the rate of excessive drinking and underage drinking, is decreasing”.

Could it be that finally we are recognising how alcohol – or at least the excessive consumption of alcohol – can harm us on so many levels – socially and physically?

Among the key findings from the research – in 2017, 20 per cent of Australians abstain from drinking – up from 11 per cent in 2007.

Six per cent of us drink daily, down from nine per cent in 2007, and 37 per cent of Australians drink weekly, down from 47 per cent 10 years ago.

When it comes to moderation – 63 per cent of drinkers usually consume no more than two standard drinks up from 48 per cent a decade ago.

And 16 per cent of drinkers usually consume five or more standard drinks, which is down from 24 per cent in 2007.

Drinkwise says the drinking culture is “maturing”. Most people are drinking at home while enjoying a meal and socialising with family and friends. The way it should be.

All of this points to a few things. Campaigns focusing on health issues have proved their worth.

We’re more aware now than ever before how alcohol is impacting our bodies.

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including, but not limited to, liver disease, cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke.

Socially too – we’re seeing the results of campaigns targeting domestic violence, which address some of the underlying causes and consequences.

The report goes into a whole bunch of detail about who we are, what concerns us, why we drink – and ultimately puts the responsibility back onto each and every one of us.

That whole of community approach (government, health and education), seems to be working.

Social attitudes are changing, but as usual there is still more work to be done.