Alcohol-fuelled violence dampens cheer during holiday season
DRINKERS in New South Wales are being asked to take it easy this festive season, with new figures predicting more than 12,000 alcohol-related hospitalisations over the summer months.
The NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA) is a group of concerned people on the frontline dealing with alcohol-related violence and injuries.
Among the group members were the Australian Medical Association NSW branch, the state's police association and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).
A report from the FARE predicted there would be more than 300 alcohol-related deaths and 12,000 hospitalisations during the next three months as people hit the bottle over summer.
The prediction, based partly on NSW Police Bureau of Crime Statistics figures, also predicted there would be some 7883 alcohol-related assaults, more than 3000 of which would be domestic violence assaults.
AMA NSW spokesman associate professor Brian Owler said it was now critical for the NSW Government to act on the devastating impact of alcohol-related harm across the state.
Despite much having already been done in recent months by the government, Assoc Prof Owler said every hospital patient in the state would benefit if alcohol-related harm could be reduced.
Westmead Hospital oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr Peter Aquilina said the victims of alcohol-fuelled violence were not just numbers on a page.
"It's the young man arriving at hospital by ambulance, his face so bloody and beaten that now his own partner can't recognise him," he said.
"Imagine those scenes repeated in hospital emergency departments around the state, and in such frequency, that those on the front line no longer find it shocking."
The alliance was calling for more attention to be targeted to fixing alcohol-related social problems around the state.