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Female binge drinking up 200 per cent

5 September 2009 1,078 views No Comment

Alcohol abuse and misuse is increasing “exponentially”, with the number of young women indulging in binge drinking increasing by 200 per cent since 2000, the co-author of a new book on the role of alcohol in Australia warns.

Speaking at the launch of Under the Influence at Annandale Galleries, in Sydney’s inner west on Wednesday night, co-author Professor Ross Fitzgerald referred to a finding by NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione that a violent city like Los Angeles has fewer alcohol-related assaults than Newcastle and Sydney.

“Faced with the reality that tens of thousands of drinkers are admitted to our hospitals each year, we urgently need to explore a number of measures, including a freeze on new 24-hour licences and 2am lockouts in violent and high-risk pubs, as well as increased restrictions on alcohol advertising, especially those targeting the young,” he said.

Ross Fitzgerald signs books at the launch

Ross Fitzgerald signs books at the launch

A recent federal government report maintains partial bans on alcohol advertising would reduce drinking by 16 per cent and road fatalities by 10 per cent, Prof Fitzgerald said.

“While such measures might seem drastic, since 2000 the biggest increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions has been among 18 to 24-year-olds, with an overall increase of 130 per cent,” he said.

He said female admissions in the same age group had increased by 200 per cent. He was not sure why.

“Is it the downside of feminism?” he said.

“The truth is I don’t know. I wish I did.”

Under the Influence is published by Harper Collins. It is Professor Fitzgerald’s 31st book and co-written by Queensland University of Technology academic Trevor Jordan.