For many, a drink before dinner, one with dinner, one after dinner is an enjoyable and moderate way to end the day – Caleb Bond
STOP right there – don’t let that glass of wine pass your lips. The food and drink police are here to save you from yourself. Just one drink does you damage.
First, they came for the smokes – which have been, for the most part, expunged. Smokers are now lepers and they need to take out a second mortgage to indulge their vice.
Next, they’re coming for the alcohol. If the public health lobby can find a way to make you pay more for it, they will. If they can find a way to institute some kind of national restriction on how many standard drinks you can imbibe a day, they will. It may well end in you having to retreat from the dinner table to a cold, windowless room to enjoy your glass of wine.
People will give you filthy looks as they pass you in the street, sipping a glass of red at an alfresco table. They’ll come up and utter such asinine phrases as, “That’s bad for you, you know?”
It might sound ridiculous, but so it did of smoking 30 years ago. And all signs point to alcohol being the next target. While the public health lobby bangs on about how we need pill testing so young people can “safely” take illicit drugs at music festivals, they also seek to demonise one of our only legal and easily controllable substances.
Ten years ago, the carry on was about young people binge drinking – or, more sinisterly, alcohol intoxication disorder. Now it’s older people binge drinking.
According to new research from the Medical Journal of Australia, Baby Boomers are increasingly drinking at “dangerous levels”. The proportion of “high risk” 50 and over drinkers is on the rise.
Those “high risk” oldies are classified as such because they have 11 or more standard drinks on one occasion once a month. So 12 out of 365 days in the year they get together with their friends for a long lunch and they are now condemned as irretrievable drunkards. Really?
But the study also found those deemed “risky” drinkers – who tend to drink five to 10 drinks in a session – has increased from 13.4 per cent to 13.5 per cent in 12 years. It’s hardly cause for alarm.
According to the latest Federal Government guidelines, though, binge drinking is deemed to be four or more standard drinks in one session. That’s about three stubbies of beer or glasses of wine.
One before dinner, one with dinner, one after dinner. That, for many people, would be a standard night. They don’t go to bed sloshed. They don’t feel the need to brawl in the street. It’s just an enjoyable and moderate way to end the day.
Government website healthdirect.gov.au helpfully informs us that some people might partake in this sort of “binge drinking” because they “might feel peer pressure to get maggoted”.
Honestly – when was the last time you heard someone use the term maggoted?
Do-gooders, nanny-statists and public health nuts may bemoan that alcohol is part of the Australian culture. But it’s part of nearly every culture. Europe, for instance, has a very strong drinking culture. But instead of trying to paint themselves as bunch of hopeless soaks, they embrace it. It’s part of their lives – and it enhances their lives. Alcohol is there to enjoy and that is exactly how we should look at it, too.
Our great state of South Australia has a very proud record when it comes to alcohol. We produce some of the best wines in the world in our many renowned wine regions. They fuel the economy, attract tourists and provide a great deal of pleasure.
Teenage drinking and drugtaking rates have been on the decrease for some time – I would argue because it’s become almost blase, as opposed to taboo.
A Cancer Council of Victoria study has claimed a decrease in TV alcohol advertising is linked to the lower drinking rates. But it also concedes that it has coincided with an increase in online advertising. Their exposure is likely no more or less.
If we turn alcohol into the next pariah, it may well have the opposite effect of making it cool again. Young people will resume drinking it because they’re being told not to.
RISKY?: A new study says ‘risky’ drinkers tend to drink five to 10 drinks in one session.