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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Western Australians are urged to celebrate the true spirit of Australia Day and not let it morph into a day of binge drinking, AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
“Australia Day is meant to be a celebration of our country, our culture and the achievements of our nation – unfortunately it has become a day of soaring Emergency Department admissions and antisocial behaviour.
“Alcohol abuse remains one of biggest health issues facing young Australians and it is saddening that many view Australia Day as just another opportunity to get drunk and disorderly.
“Inevitably, thousands of people will have ‘had a skinful’ before they arrive at the designated drinking areas and knocking off another six beers or a bottle of red will leave many of them heavily intoxicated.”
Dr Gannon said people who felt compelled to celebrate Australia Day with a big day out should plan ahead and think about the consequences of reckless and irresponsible behaviour.
“For a start, if you are drinking and driving you are in a high risk category of causing an accident; alcohol is a factor in about one in every five fatalities on our roads,” said Dr Gannon.
“The sensible thing is to go easy on the drinks, pace yourself and appoint a designated driver or arrange alternative transport for getting home.”
“With high temperatures forecast, we advise people to remain mindful that they should take it easy during the day.
“Drink lots of water throughout the day, apply sunscreen regularly and limit the amount the amount of alcohol you consume.
“Don’t swim if you’re drunk, watch out for your mates and let’s make Australia Day an event we can all be proud of,” he said.