What's the harm

Did you know?
The younger you start drinking, the longer you'll be exposed to the damage alcohol causes to health

What's The Harm

Many years of research in Australia and around the world make it very clear that drinking alcohol can cause serious short term and long term harm to young people and adults.

Alcohol is responsible for more deaths among Australian young people than any other drug. It also contributes to an alarmingly high proportion of young people's admissions to hospital and treatment by ambulance crews. In the four years between 2001/02 and 2004/05:

  • 6,180 young Victorians (aged 16 to 24) were assaulted in incidents involving alcohol - around 30 every week
  • 5,152 Victorians aged 15 to 19 were admitted to hospital because of medical issues relating to alcohol - about 25 each week
  • 2,135 Victorians aged between 18 and 24 were seriously injured in alcohol-related road crashes - more than 10 every week
  • 194 Victorians aged 15 to 24 died because of alcohol - almost one every week.

Across the whole Victorian population - including both young people and adults:

  • Ambulance Victoria attended 6,219 alcohol-related cases in metropolitan Melbourne in 2008-09
  • 728 alcohol-related deaths were recorded in 2007
  • 10,363 family incidents involving alcohol reported to Victoria Police in 2008-09
  • 27,045 inpatient hospitalisations in Victoria associated with alcohol in 2008-09.

Alcohol also costs the community a lot of money. Alcohol-related harm - including crime and violence, medical treatment, loss of productivity and death - costs Victorian taxpayers $4.3 billion a year.

In this section, you'll find detail about the effects of alcohol on young people's short term and long term health and wellbeing.