Increase price to stop alcohol problem says medico

The most effective way to tackle alcohol abuse is to raise the price, St Vincent's Hospital Darlinghurst director of drug and alcohol services says.

The Catholic Weekly reports Dr Alex Wodak, who heads the service says, most of the alcohol consumed in the community is consumed at "high risk".

"So it's hard to improve the outlook without alcohol consumption falling," Dr Wodak said.

"We know an enormous amount about what works and what doesn't work for alcohol.

"It's not really a public health problem - it's really a political problem," he said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said binge drinking has reached "epidemic" proportions, as he foreshadowed action to combat the growing problem of alcohol abuse.

Mr Rudd said that police across Australia had expressed their concerns to him that alcohol abuse "lies at the core of increasing spates of urban violence around the country".

"The Rudd Government has already announced an increase in the price (tax) of beer and spirits, but not wine," Dr Wodak said.

"So the Government has already taken some effective action."

A recent survey by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation found one in 10 Australians was frightened by a drunk during the festive season.

SOURCE

Drinks tax hike to fight alcohol abuse
(The Catholic Weekly 02/02/08)

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