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30 Dec 2013

The AMA has urged people to take it easy when celebrating the start of the New Year.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that New Year’s Eve was a great time to relax and have fun with relatives and friends, but warned that partygoers should avoid making the start of 2014 memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Dr Hambleton said all too often celebrations were marred by people getting hurt because they, and those around them, overindulged.

“Every summer there are tragic instances where people are seriously injured and even killed because of alcohol and the harm it causes,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Doctors see the consequences of alcohol-related violence and harm every day, particularly among young people, who are more likely to exercise poor judgement and make bad decisions when drinking.”

Car accidents, assaults, unsafe sex and alcohol poisoning are just some of the consequences of going too far when celebrating. An Australasian College of Emergency Medicine survey conducted earlier this month found that on weekends, up to a third of all emergency department patients were there because of alcohol-related harms.

Dr Hambleton said many people, particularly the young, were at risk of starting 2014 with more than just a bad hangover because of irresponsible drinking, and doctors and other emergency workers were frustrated with the heavy annual toll of death, injury and other harm caused by alcohol.

“While people can enjoy a social drink, by following just a few simple tips they can avoid putting themselves, their friends, their loved ones, and others at risk,” he said.

“The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends drinking no more than two standard drinks a day to cut down on the risk of alcohol-related disease and injury.”

The AMA is also warning people against mixing alcohol and highly caffeinated energy drinks.

Dr Hambleton said that mixing alcohol and energy drinks has become popular among young people and adults but, the combination may impair your assessment of your own level of intoxication.

“New Year’s Eve will be a time of risky behaviour, because people will start drinking earlier and may still be drinking well into the night to see the New Year in.

“It can lead people to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine, both of which can be harmful on their own, but potentially lethal when consumed together.”

“A stimulant and a depressant don’t mix.”

Dr Hambleton said to have a safe and happy summer this year, remember to:

·         set limits for yourself and stick to them;

·         start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks;

·         drink slowly;

·         choose drinks with a lower alcohol content;

·         never let your  mates down, always make sure they get home safely;

·         eating will slow down alcohol absorption, but not the overall level of harm; and

·         if you participate in rounds of drinks, try to include some non-alcoholic drinks.

“The AMA wants to everyone to have a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve, and to start 2014 in good health,” Dr Hambleton said.


30 December 2013


CONTACT:        John Flannery                     02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                          Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753 

Published: 30 Dec 2013