The social costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory equate to $1.38 billion annually. Harmful levels of alcohol consumption – both binge drinking and sustained high and moderate levels of drinking – increase the propensity for risk taking associated with violence, crime, drink driving, unsafe sex, alcoholic poisoning, drinking while pregnant and a wide raft of anti-social behaviours and chronic or acute alcohol related health conditions. The impacts of alcohol also extend to family and friends, with harms relating to domestic violence, child neglect, diminished industry productivity and other third party harm. These understandings, alongside an independent review of NT alcohol policies and legislation, have led the Northern Territory Government to invest in a series of alcohol policy measures as part of its approach to alcohol harm minimisation.
Peter Miller (PhD) is a Professor of Violence Prevention and Addiction Studies at the School of Psychology, Deakin University. He is the Director of the Deakin University Centre for Drug use, Addictive and Anti-social behaviour Research (CEDAAR: www.deakin.edu.au/cedaar)