Alcohol Harm Statistics

Alcohol is responsible for significant levels of preventable harm in Western Australia and causes the most overall harm when considering harm to those who use and harm when compared to other drugs.1

For the drinker, even small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of experiencing harm.23 These risks include acute harms such as injury, violence, self-harm and chronic harms including cancers, liver disease, cardiovascular disease and mental health problems.4 Alcohol also harms people other than the drinker, including physical, verbal and sexual assault, road crashes and property damage.5

The Sustainable Health Review Final Report 6 recommended WA target a 10% reduction in alcohol use by 2024 as a priority, given the significant impact of alcohol on individuals, communities and the health system in Western Australia.

Alcohol-attributable hospitalisations 7

In 2019, Western Australians were hospitalised an estimated 20,917 times for alcohol-attributable conditions, equating to around one hospitalisation every 25 minutes. This resulted in an estimated 114,734 bed-days, costing the State Government an estimated $172 million.

A copy of this PDF can be downloaded here.

1

Bonomo, Y., Norman, A., Biondo, S., Bruno, R., Daglish, M., Dawe, S., Egerton-Warburton, D., Karro, J., … & Castle, D.  (2019). The Australian drug harms ranking study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 33(7), 759-768.

2

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2020). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

3

Griswold, M., et al. (2018). Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories,1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet, 392, 1015-35.

4

World Health Organization. Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. Geneva: WHO; September 2018.

5

Laslett, A-M., Catalano, P., Chikritzhs, Y., Dale, C., Doran, C., Ferris, J., … & Wilkinson, C. (2010). The range and magnitude of alcohol’s harm to others. Fitzroy, Victoria: AER Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Eastern Health.

6

Sustainable Health Review. (2019). Sustainable Health Review: Final Report to the Western Australian, Government. Department of Health, Western Australia.

7

Data were derived by the Epidemiology Branch, Department of Health WA on 16 August 2021. The number of hospitalisations related to alcohol are estimates based on aetiologic fractions and are not actual counts

Page last updated: 30 August 2021

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