In Australia, the comparitive societal impacts of alcohol and cannabis are quite distinct, particularly in terms of mortality rates and domestic violence. This analysis, based on Australian sources, highlights the contrast between these two substances.
The Impact of Alcohol in Australia
Mortality and Health
Alcohol consumption in Australia has led to a significant increase in related harms, including death. In 2021, the number of alcohol-related deaths reached a 10-year peak of 1,559, a 7.4% increase from 2020. Grimly enough, The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Causes of Death report shows that in 2022, 1,742 people died from alcohol, yet another increase. Alcohol accounted for nearly three in five (57%) drug-related hospitalizations in the same year, with the majority involving males (Alcohol and Drug Foundation, 2023).
The link between alcohol use and domestic violence is evident and concerning. Incidents of family, domestic, or sexual violence often occur in the context of alcohol and other drug use. For example, data from the 2016 Personal Safety Survey showed that about half of the women who experienced male-perpetrated physical or sexual violence in the past 10 years believed that alcohol or another substance contributed to their experience (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2023). Additionally, the use of alcohol and other drugs is integral to the tactics of violence and coercive control used by many perpetrators (University of Melbourne, 2023).
The Impact of Cannabis
Regarding cannabis, the Australian context does not provide as clear a picture as it does with alcohol. While there are concerns about the increasing use of medical cannabis and other illicit drugs, there is less direct evidence linking cannabis to mortality or domestic violence in the same way as alcohol.
The societal impacts of alcohol in Australia are significant and multifaceted, affecting not only individual health but also public safety, particularly in relation to domestic violence. The data points to a troubling relationship between alcohol consumption and an increase in violent behaviors and mortality rates.
In contrast, while cannabis use is not without its risks, the direct societal impacts in terms of mortality and domestic violence are not as pronounced as those associated with alcohol. This difference highlights the need for targeted public health strategies and interventions, especially in addressing the harms of alcohol use.
In summary, while both alcohol and cannabis pose risks, the societal impacts of alcohol in Australia, particularly concerning mortality and domestic violence, are more severe. This analysis underscores the importance of informed public policy and awareness initiatives to mitigate these risks and address the challenges posed by alcohol consumption in Australia. It's important to remember that while medical cannabis might not have the same detrimental societal impacts as alcohol, it's still not right for everyone, and you should consult a GP to see if it's right for you.