Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A report from one of Australia's most respected research bodies has shown that alcohol abuse claims the life of an Aborigine every 38 hours

Phil Mercer:

Suicide is the greatest cause of death among intoxicated indigenous men; for women it is liver cirrhosis or strokes.

Australia's National Drug and Research Institute has described the situation as "very bleak".

The Aborigines are twice as likely to die from the effects of alcohol as their non-indigenous counterparts.

Alcohol abuse in many remote Aboriginal communities is like a plague. It is wiping out on average one indigenous Australian every day-and-a-half.

Most women die of liver damage. Many others suffer haemorrhagic strokes or bleeding in the brain which can be caused by excessive binge drinking.

Australia's National Drug and Research Institute has found that that sort of abuse has caused high rates of suicide among Aboriginal men.

Injuries from assaults and car accidents accounted for other deaths.

Alcohol Continues to Ravage Australian Aboriginal Communities


At 3:09 AM, Blogger iMan said...

Alcoholism is prevalent in most societies where it is readily available so its shocking in one way but somewhat expected another. To clarify that latter point, in North America the Native American population, specifically the Navajo people suffer from this exact problem. However, with them it’s more often the men that suffer from Alcoholism rather than the women. That’s moot to the point though, the interesting part in all of this is that both these groups of people are considered “native” to the land. The Aborigines were in Australia first, as were the Navajo in North America.
Drawing parallels between the two could attempt to be objective but there is really deeper issues going on. For one thing, depression among the Navajo leads to excessive alcohol consumption, which sparked forbidding sales of alcohol on the reservation. This proved to be an even bigger dilemma because the Navajo will end up drinking rubbing alcohol or resort to making “bootleg” liquor in tubs (moonshine) but the strength goes beyond consumer moonshine.
It could be inferred that the problem with liquor stems from the living conditions and past and present treatment of aboriginal groups like the two in question. Since they are allocated space on the fringe of essentially nowhere, the isolation and lack of any real support from the dominating group can lead them to go down a path which may “heal” but for the wrong reasons.
It’s difficult to deal with the idea of segregated groups like these that have endured enough and have to deal with even more problems that rip through their way of life. However, its more interesting to examine through out the world how many other native groups have a similar problem, whether it’s with alcohol or drugs. Native populations usually endure terrible hardships but constricting ones in terms of lifestyle can also be compared to geographic setting and lots of other characteristics.

At 3:38 PM, Anonymous pjgoober said...

Probably the best policy for the reservations would be to allow alcohol sales, but restrict it to weak beer. Of course massive beer drinking leads to other problems rampant public urination (theodore dalrymple made a point about this with regards to britain). But I suppose that is worth the trade-off.


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