Nicholas Falconer

Majority of Aussies feel guilty after binge drinking: poll

EVER woken up after a big night on the grog with an overwhelming sense of guilt? It turns out you're not alone.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education's annual poll, which looked at Australians' drinking habits and attitudes, found 4.5 million people (40%) drank to get drunk, with almost a third feeling guilty after these binges.

Despite this three quarters said more needed to be done to address alcohol-related harm in Australia.

For the first time the poll, conducted by Galaxy Research, asked drinkers if they ever regretted contacting people via phone or social media while intoxicated.

Not surprisingly, 32% admitted to feelings of regret after phoning, texting, emailing or posting on social media while drunk, with Gen Y (47%) the most likely to feel this way.

In fact the poll revealed some worrying numbers for Gen Y.

Six in 10 people in this age demographic drank to get drunk, with 39% unable to remember what they did the night before.

This compared to 26% of people overall who experienced memory loss from drinking.

In terms of "pre-loading" - the practice of drinking before going to a pub or club - 76% of Gen Y boozers said they did this, compared to 57% overall.

The main reason for pre-loading among Gen Y drinkers was a desire to save money.

Interestingly, the impact of social media extended beyond drunken tweets or Facebook posts.

One in five Gen Ys in said they had noticed alcohol advertising or promotions on social media, with 45% of those subsequently interacting with an alcohol brand online.

More than half (58%) supported a ban on alcohol advertising before 8.30pm, seven days a week - less than the 64% overall figure.

Overall 69% of Australians believed alcohol advertising influenced the behaviour of under-18s, a view also held by 64% of Gen Y.

FARE chief executive said this "careful and deliberate manipulation" by the alcohol industry to lure young drinkers was a disgrace.

"The health and welfare of our young people is being placed in jeopardy by an alcohol industry hell bent on increasing profits at everyone else's expense.

"It's no accident that our young people preload when takeaway alcohol is cheaper than it has been in three decades, and it's no surprise that they are drunk before they even hit the town, when we have so many late night trading venues," Mr Thorn said.

While the poll showed an overall decline in the number of Australians drinking, other indicators highlighted Australians were continued to drink too much.The poll also looked at parents' alcohol consumption habits.

A whopping 79% of parents and guardians of children under 18 years of age were found to consumer alcohol in front of their youngsters, with 13% of Australian admitting to knowingly providing booze to minors.

Mr Thorn said the poll, now in its fourth year, should serve as a wake up call to all politicians.

"With millions of Australians continuing to drink to excess, the 2013 annual poll provides further evidence of the failure of government to introduce effective alcohol reform policies," Mr Thorn said.

"Governments around the country seem unwilling to take action, yet this poll again makes clear that Australians recognise that alcohol use results in devastating harms, and overwhelmingly demand our politicians to take meaningful steps to reduce the carnage."



  • 75% of people believe that Australia has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse.
  • 78% believe that alcohol-related problems in Australia will either get worse or remain the same over the next five to 10 years.
  • 77% of Australians consume alcohol. 50% consume three or more standard drinks on a typical occasion, 47% will consume one or two standard drinks and a further 3% cannot state with certainty how much they typically consume.
  • 71% of Australian drinkers are comfortable with the amount of alcohol they consume, 22% sometimes feel they have too much to drink and 6% admit to being uncomfortable.
  • 61% of Australians believe that health information labels should be placed on alcohol products.

*Taken from FARE's Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and Behaviours.

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