Alcohol Beverages Australia has called out a survey suggesting more people in Victoria used alcohol treatment services during COVID as misleading.
The Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association survey claimed that 70 per cent of alcohol and other drug services reported more people are seeking help for alcohol use since the pandemic began in Australia.
However ABA CEO Andrew Wilsmore said it was important to use facts “rather than vague opinions”, when it comes to providing information on Australia’s relationship with beer, wine and spirits.
“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is the independent umpire, and its most up-to-date statistics show alcohol treatment episodes have been falling for 10 years with no change to that trend during the Victorian lockdowns,” Wilsmore said
“Alcohol treatment episodes as a percentage of all drug treatments were down 14.5 per cent in the year ending June 2020, and the reduction over 10 years in the state of Victoria is 39.5 per cent.”
He added: “On a pure treatment number basis, alcohol treatments have fallen from a high of 23,491 in 2010-11 down to 20,326 in 2019-20, against the tide of a rising population.
“Moderation in drinking is the new norm for the vast majority of Australians with the per capita consumption of alcohol at its lowest level in 50 years.
“The activists are intent on creating a false narrative to suggest Government need to unnecessarily intervene in support of their anti-alcohol agenda. Meanwhile Australians are making sensible choices and choosing to act responsibility when it comes to enjoying a drink,” Wilsmore said.