Fact: Aussies love a drink.
We’re the good time party people, always ready with a tinnie, a ciggie, and if you’re lucky, a doobie too. Aussies are the cheeky people, the good time gals, the last ones standing, and are always, always, up for a drink.
But this fun-loving attitude that exists at the very core of our nation’s identity is swiftly becoming something darker – with drug and alcohol use on the rise, a very real problem of dependence is emerging.
So how, in a the land of milk and honey, green smoothies, outdoor yoga, and 1pm lockouts have we managed to becoming the booziest we’ve ever been?
From Bob Hawke, our former PM who also held the record for sculling a yard glass of beer (11 seconds, if you were wondering), to Karl Stefanovic, beloved boozehound and TV host who turned up pissed as a newt following a night on the turps at the 2009 Logies; our nation has been founded on drinking.
Yup, to be Australian is to die with a pair of BBQ tongs in one hand, and a XXXX Bitter in the other.
But in recent years, something has changed.
Specifically, two things happened: firstly, a scary wave of youth violence swept our nightlife. Coward punches, drug overdoses, and drink spiking became the ugly flip side of the coin, the darker result of a changing scene of drinking.
Simultaneously, the Mindful Revolution reached our sunburnt shores, and suddenly, green smoothies, body worship, and beach yoga were IN; and the Great Australian Boozy Lunch, beer bongs, and Friday work drinks were OUT.
Before long, we became ‘the nanny country’. Australia is now facing unprecedented laws designed to curb our drinking habits, to the support of many. We have lockout laws, tax hikes on alcopops, drug and alcohol testing on all main roads, increased fines, vast alcohol-free zones, and random drug and alcohol tests in most corporate organisations.
And still, despite all of this, we’ve pulled a real El Chapo and somehow managed to increase the average intake per person per year by 90 standard drinks.
*Confused and unsure applause*
Recent testing of Sydney bars and clubs showed 80% tested positive to traces of narcotics in bathroom cubicles. What is interesting, however, is that this is a massive increase on recent years – 35% in five years, actually. The same report noted that possession and use of coke had increase a massive 87.5%, with possession and use of ecstasy up 22%.
(Um, by the way: Australians are the number 1 ecstasy users in the world, and number 4 for cocaine. Insane.)
Our excessive drinking problem undoubtedly has its roots in the fake-tanned, Snapchat, pre-paid-mobile wilderness of Aussie teenagers. With the average age of new drinkers now pegged as young as 13 or 14 years old, they are reported to be drinking on average around 7 – 10 standard drinks a night.