Alcohol, Health and the Community

Responsible Service of AlcoholThe consumption of alcohol can have profound effects on personal health as well as community health. Most people drink in moderation. However there are substantial proportions of people who drink at levels that increase the risk of harm both to themselves and to others. RSA staff must have an overall understanding of the effects of alcohol on personal health.

Alcohol can become addictive and research shows that alcohol is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of death and hospitalisation in Australia. Alcohol can also have social consequences, such as contributing to violence, crime, and antisocial behaviour in the community.

Regular excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk over time, of chronic ill health and premature death. Episodic heavy drinking places the drinker and others at risk of injury or death. Heavy drinking is also associated with injury, unwanted sexual relations and violence. Alcohol is a factor in approximately one in six fatal road crashes. Each year in Australia, approximately 3,100 people die as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and around 72,000 people are hospitalised (ref.: Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, 2006).

By increasing a person’s confidence and reducing their inhibitions, alcohol makes people take risks they would not normally take. At the same time, heavy drinking reduces a person’s ability to think clearly and act in an appropriate way.

Binge drinking is an ever increasing trend in Australia. This can be very dangerous, as it makes the harms from alcohol worse. Also, because drinking excessively can stop you from thinking clearly and acting sensibly, you may put yourself in danger.

Not only is binge drinking a health problem, it can also cause problems for the licensed venue and RSA staff. These problems can seriously affect the image of the establishment, bringing it to the attention of police, councils, community groups and other customers, who are all capable to make complaints or just not return.