As the ice epidemic continues to dominate news headlines, the issue of alcohol facing the Queensland medical industry has reared its ugly head.
Patient alcohol abuse is the leading cause of nurses and allied hospital staff being punched, bashed and verbally abused, according to incident reports obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) under the Right to Information during 2012 – 2015 from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospitals, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Gold Coast University Hospital, and Cairns Hospital.
Considered an ongoing issue, alcohol accounted for far greater hospital assaults than ice during the past three years.
In total, 2,695 hospital staff, including doctors, pharmacists and security officers, lodged formal claims of verbal, physical or other assault during this period,
Violent alcohol-fuelled crime cost the Australian public purse $1.7 billion between 2004-2005, while the social cost of alcohol-related violence tipped $187 million.
A 2007 National Drug Strategy Household survey revealed:
- One-in-four Australians were a victim of alcohol-related abuse;
- 13 per cent of Australians were intimidated by someone under the influence of alcohol; and
- 5 per cent of Australians aged 14 years and over had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol.
Overcoming alcohol abuse usually requires intervention in order to withdraw safely and comfortably from the addiction, while considering other health issues present and the length of the alcohol addiction.
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