'One in five men will die from alcohol'
A glass of wine after work or pint of beer at the pub is something of an Aussie tradition. Australians love a drink – and we love a drink often.
Last year, the average Australian aged over 15 drank the equivalent of 9.4 litres of pure alcohol – that’s about 224 stubbies or 38 bottles of wine each.
‘Last Drinks’ airs tonight on Channel 9 at the special time of 7pm after Channel Nine News. For more on 60 Minutes head to the official website.
But now a landmark new study published in the most respected medical journal in the world, the Lancet, has confirmed one of our greatest fears – that there is no safe limit for alcohol and that just one glass could be deadly.
Tonight on 60 Minutes reporter Tom Steinfort reignites the great Australian alcohol debate to answer the question once and for all – is our penchant for an afterwork drink actually killing us, or is it all just ‘froth and bubbles’?
Professor Sonia Saxena, one of the authors of the controversial study, tells 60 Minutes that most people are not actually aware of the serious health effects that just one drink can have.
“Especially in older generations, alcohol's responsible for about 25 percent of deaths in women. One in five men will die as a result of alcohol,” Professor Saxena says.
“As soon as you start consuming alcohol, you’re more likely to die?” Steinfort asks.
“That’s correct,” she responds.
It’s a stern warning, with the evidence to back it up – but not everyone is convinced.
Professor David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the esteemed Cambridge University, tells 60 Minutes he is concerned that the numbers touted by the study have been blown massively out of proportion, and that the statistics themselves are being “abused”.
“The idea that there’s no safe level of alcohol? I don’t think stands up to scrutiny,” he argues.
One of Professor Spiegelhalter’s main criticisms of the study is that it doesn’t factor in the enjoyment people get from a few drinks at a social event.
“There’s no safe level for driving, but we don't recommend not driving,” he tells 60 Minutes.
“There's no safe level for going on holiday, but maybe we want to go on a holiday.
“There's no safe level for just getting out of bed in the morning and living
“And that can be dangerous as well.”
Is alcohol driving Australians to death? You be the judge tonight.