Australia pays the price for alcohol excesses

3 min read
15/03/19 3:07 AM

Australians are drinking less alcohol than they have in 50 years1, but sadly 26 Aussies are losing their lives every week because of alcohol-related causes.2



The consequences of excessive drinking are apparent every day, contributing to domestic violence and murders, causing a burden to the health system, the criminal justice system and reducing productivity at work3.

Alcohol abuse cost Australian society a massive estimated amount of $14.3 billion a year in 2010,4 and does not take into consideration the social and emotional consequences of those enduring a family member who is suffering from alcohol abuse.

In 2010, nearly $3 billion was spent on police, court and prison related expenses due to excessive drinking according to most recent data from the Australian Institute of Criminology.5


Effects on Home Life

There is a clear link between alcohol and domestic violence, and alcohol increases the occurrence and severity of the impacts according to the World Health Organisation.6

Worse still, 44% of murders by partners in the home in Australia between 2000 and 2006 were alcohol-related.7

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in up to half of partner violence in Australia8, although records are not consistently kept. Children are harmed because they witness the violence and alcohol increases the risk of children being neglected and abused.9

In an interview with Crescent Wealth Super, Dr Wodak, emeritus consultant and former head of St. Vincent’s Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service says, “alcohol is a very common cause of violence, including domestic violence, and alcohol dependence is very common among homeless Australians.”

“Alcohol and drug problems have huge health, social and economic costs in Australia yet it is not difficult to know what should be done to lessen their impact,” says Dr Alex Wodak.


Hospital admissions

Dr Wodak, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for service to medicine particularly in the area of alcohol and drugs, has seen the impacts of alcohol abuse first hand.

“Patients with alcohol-related medical, surgical and psychiatric conditions due to high risk drinking are very common in virtually every department of a modern hospital,” Dr Wodak says.

“It is striking how much is known about how to prevent alcohol-related problems but how little is done.”

Drinking habits

According to Dr Wodak part of the problem is the way we drink. He says the top 10 percent of our heaviest drinkers account for almost half the alcohol drunk nationally. While the top 20 percent of heaviest drinkers account for 70 percent of alcohol intake.


Lost productivity

Economically there are enormous losses. More than $6 billion was lost in economic productivity through premature death and absenteeism. And the cost of people under the influence turning up for work and not performing can’t be accounted for.

Another $3.6 billion a year is lost due to alcohol-related traffic accidents.

But as well as the economic cost there is the tragic human cost. The cost of losing a loved one in a car accident, or alcohol-fuelled fight, or the cost of living with a loved one with an alcohol abuse problem10.


Crescent’s role

Crescent Wealth Super sees itself as an active participant in preventing the harm caused by alcohol.

We actively avoid investments in the production, promotion or distribution of alcohol as well as gambling, tobacco, weaponry and interest-earning organisations.

We invest based on Islamic principles and have a philosophy aimed at creating a better world by supporting investments that benefit, rather than harm society.
In our investments, we consider and support the wellbeing of future generations.

We adhere to globally recognised standards for Islamic Investment principles as set out by dozens of the world’s leading Islamic finance scholars through The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).


If you want to switch or refer someone you know to a super fund that reflects the values you’re invested in, give one of our team a call on 1300 926 626.

If you or anyone you know needs help reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit them online.



[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017

[3] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Australian Institute of Criminology, World Health Organisation 2006

[4] Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice – the societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia

[5] Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice – the societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia

[6] World Health Organisation 2006

[7] Australian Institute of Criminology

[8] The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

[9] Australian Institute of Family Studies

[10] Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice – the societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia