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Alcohol Kills 5,554 People – Report Finds

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By Athena Yenko | July 31, 2014 8:54 PM EST

Five thousand five hundred fifty-four deaths - 3,467 males and 1,087 - in Australia in 2010 were alcohol related.

A report released Thursday found that a whopping number of deaths in 2010, amounting to 5,554, were associated with alcohol consumption.

There were 157,132 hospitalisations - 101,425 for males and 55,707 for females - also related with alcohol consumption, the report titled Alcohol's Burden of Disease in Australia found.

Deaths of alcohol-related injuries were also the highest at 36 per cent compared to deaths caused by cancer (25 per cent) and digestive disease (16 per cent) for the men.

For women, the highest percentage of alcohol-attributable diseases that lead to death is cardiovascular disease at 34 per cent, followed by cancers at 31 per cent and injuries at 12 per cent.

The report also found that it was alcohol that caused 136,982 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in males and 51,556 DALYs in females during 2010.

Alcohol was also estimated to cause 84,945 Years of Life Lost (YLL) in Australian men and 35,223 YLL in Australian women in 2010.

Australia's Northern territory has the highest proportion of alcohol-related deaths for both males and females.

Victoria, meanwhile, has the lowest proportion of deaths attributable to alcohol for both men and women.

As estimated, Australians are gulping down 10.42L of alcohol in a year. Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales consume less than 10 litres while Western Australia and the Northern Territory have the highest consumption greater than 12 litres per person per year.

Overall, the study found that 15 people die every day and more than 430 people are given medical treatment every day in the country due to alcohol-related disease.

Speaking on ABC's AM programme, Dr Michael Thorn from the Foundation for Alcohol Research said that even with these worrisome statistics on alcohol consumption, Australia's binge drinking culture continues to grow.

"The problem has been that those who are drinking are drinking a lot more and that's across all the age groups. So, older people are drinking longer into their lives, women who historically didn't drink much, now are drinking for extended periods throughout their lives. There's a sort of general pattern of alcohol's consumption that is contributing to this disease burden," Thorn said.

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