Heavy alcohol consumers drinking more

An analysis of drinking habits since 2001 found heavy consumption by the nation’s top 10% of drinkers has increased by almost 5% in the last decade.

On average Australians drink 10 litres of pure alcohol a year per head and the top 10% of drinkers now account for 52% of total alcohol consumed, compared with 49% a decade ago. 

The top 5% of drinkers are drinking 140 more standard drinks a year compared with a decade ago. 

However, more people were found to be abstaining altogether and lighter drinkers were drinking even less when four successive National Drug Strategy Household Surveys, each covering more than 20,000 Australian aged 14 and over, were analysed.

Dr Michael Livingston, who was due to present the results at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) Annual Symposium today, said the results partially explained a sharp increase in hospitalisations and emergency presentations, as well as alcohol-related