Doctors have welcomed the NT's action plan on reduction alcohol abuse.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians supports the NT Government action on the NT Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan.
“The reduction in emergency department presentations across the Territory, and the 12-month reduction in assaults in Alice Springs, are particularly pleasing,” said Dr Rob Tait, chair of the RACP NT Regional Committee and specialist paediatrician.
Unfortunately research on the alcohol reforms shows alcohol related assaults in Katherine have risen markedly in recent years after bottoming out in 2015 and 2016.
The results add further weight to those residents and community leaders who say the removal of police from the front of bottle shops has contributed to a rise in alcohol abuse and public disorder.
Katherine Hospital admissions in relation to alcohol abuse are generally steady at about 100 per month but fell from 99 in October last year to 65 in November.
But averaged out admissions to the Katherine Hospital have risen in the past two years.
“We see this in our hospitals, and Territorians are starting to see the benefits in the community,” Dr Tait said of the results in other areas.
The RACP is on the record supporting a minimum floor price for alcohol and the NT Government’s commitment to this is a significant moment of national leadership.
“We want this vital reform properly implemented, monitored, and evaluated as a demand-reduction measure that can pay significant social and health dividends, especially for individual health and public health," Dr Tait said.
"Unfortunately, the NT leads the nation in alcohol consumption.
"However, it’s now also leading the nation in evidence-driven strategies to reduce alcohol consumption and combat the harms it causes,” Dr Tait said.
“The floor price is expected to reduce the availability of cheap alcohol, and reduce alcohol consumption and problematic drinking patterns.
“Implementing the Alcohol Review’s recommendations is a long-term commitment that needs bipartisan support.
“Transparent and regular reporting of progress is the first step towards better policy design to address the challenges ahead, and demonstrates the Government is serious about this responsibility.
"We urge the Government and all NT legislators to continue to listen to specialists and other experts on the health benefits of reduced alcohol consumption as the next phase of alcohol regulation is consulted, legislated and implemented,” Dr Tait said.
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