Welcome to Alcohol Drinking = Loss of Control!

...Health Effects of Gen Y....

Name: Amanda Giang
Student Number: 07388187
Tutor: Emily Mann


Alcohol Drinking

How healthy is Gen Y? What are the key public health issues facing this generation, and what are the drinking social and cultural forces behind these issues?


Buddhist Precept #5: Abstain From Intoxicants That Causes Heedleness

external image draft_lens12836981module117373221photo_1283326822Buddhist_Precept_5.jpg
external image draft_lens12836981module117373221photo_1283326822Buddhist_Precept_5.jpg
This hypnotising image depicts the aftermath of alcohol drinking within an individuals’ mind and body. It reveals extreme excitement and craziness while drinking alcohol, but also a confusing and head aching aftermath feeling. The image is mainly focused within the Chinese Buddhism religion as Buddhists have a strong depiction against the consumption of alcohol. However, there are other countries that support this mental picture, such as Thailand. Buddha encouraged his followers to securely refrain themselves from any kind of intoxicants, especially alcohol as it is said to be harmful and inconsistent with Buddhist beliefs as they distort the mind and body (Blackburn, S. 2011).

“… one small slip can result in much bigger, perhaps life-damaging problems…” (Squidoo, 2011).


This artefact represents the harmful aftermath of intoxicant substances and is symbolic among all generation. According to the World Health Report 2002, the harmful intoxicant of alcohol is the leading risk factor in developing countries with low mortality rates and ranks third in developed countries; Australia. As a consequence, this health epidemic has now become one of the most important threats to public health (World Health Organization, 2011) impacting work, family and health. It is very important to consider the social and cultural forces impacting the health of our Generation. Following generational trends and the different living generations, alcohol abuse varies in many ways. Generation X is most likely to abuse alcohol while adults older than 65 years old and younger than 30 years old have a lower risk of alcohol abuse. Generation Y however, have lower rates of alcohol abuse, but higher rates of binge drinking (Dara Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia, 2011). These high rates of alcohol usage impact greatly on every part of the human system. To improve the health of our generation, there is a need for change.


Defined by the Australian Government (2011), “alcohol usually refers to drinks such as beer, wine, or spirits containing ethyl alcohol, a substance that can cause drunkenness and changes in consciousness, mood and emotions. It is these intoxicating and psychoactive effects that lead to so many accidents, injuries, diseases and disruptions in the family life of everyday Australians”. Data from the; 2004-05 National Health Survey, the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and the Census of Death Collection were collected from those aged 18 years and over, and from those aged 14 and over, which also consisted of a small sample from 12-13 year old. Both surveys had excluded homeless and institutionalised people. This research was well conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006). Results revealed an increase in the percentage of people drinking at an unsafe/ high risk level over the past three National Health Surveys, from 8.2% in 1995 to 10.8% in 2001 and 13.4% in 2004-05 (after adjusting for age differences) as confirmed in the graph below (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). As numbers are increasing, there is a greater need of action to prevent this epidemic.

external image 0.2A98%21OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=gif

If these statistics are not evident enough to proceed with addressing this epidemic within Australia, the increase of alcohol consumption among young adolescents (Generation Y) has proved evident to address this issue. As the proportion of the population aged 14 years old or older who consumed alcohol daily declined between 2007 (8.1%) and 2010 (7.2%), the proportion of alcohol consumed at levels that are of great harm over their lifetime had a slight change with 20.3% in 2007 and 20.1% in 2010. Moreover, the increase of Australian population between 2007 and 2010 had resulted with an increase of people drinking at risky levels. There have been at least 7% of recent drinkers younger than 29 years old, resulting in changes of drink preferences, shifting away from pre-mixed spirits (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011).

The epidemiology of alcohol and health outcomes places another degree of significance on top of the issue. According to Room, Babor and Rehm (2005), alcohol consumption and health outcomes are complex and multidimensional as it is responsible for increased illness and death such as various types of cancers, stoke, suicide, injuries and disorders, and accounts for 60 different medical conditions. Room et al. (2005) however, conclude that other than the volume of consumption, patterns of drinking are another cause of burden of disease.

Following historical evidence, the belief of religion plays an important role on the consumption of alcohol. The level of alcohol consumed has been kept to a minimum among ordinary people in Thailand. Refraining and consuming low quantities of alcohol results from the strong faith in Buddhism; discouraging alcohol use among its followers (Thamarangsi, 2006, p. 783-787). However, through many years, The World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Alcohol Database shown an increase of pure alcohol from 0.26 litres in 1961 to 8.47 litres in 2001 (Thamarangsi, 2006, p. 783-787). Although there are an overpowering number of people in Buddhist countries, such as Thailand, only a small number of followers practice Buddhism and Buddha’s teachings sincerely to refrain from alcohol. In addition, regardless of the popular philosophy of Buddhism in the west, only a small number of people are willing to follow the Buddha’s advice regarding alcohol (Yun, 2006).

The unequal distribution of prevalence across population subgroups places another degree of significance on top of the issue. Indigenous Australians are at twice the greater risk of having poor health statuses compared to Non-Indigenous Australians (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011). Research implicates that the explanation for the remaining differences lies in other determinants of health such as social environment, as research found that Indigenous people removed from their ordinary family had higher rates of poor health status than other Indigenous people (AIHW, 2011). Alcohol use among Indigenous Australians has accounted for almost double that of the general Australian population. In 2003, 6.2% of alcohol was accounted towards the overall burden of disease among Indigenous Australians, while only 0.8% of this burden was prevented (Wilson et al., 2010). As a result, alcohol use is an important health issue to be focused on.

On 24 April 2009, the current National Alcohol Strategy 2006-2009 was granted an extension until 2011 from the Ministerial Council on Drug Safety. This strategy was developed to address the high risk alcohol consumption that is prevalent in Australia (Australian Government, 2011). Estimations revealed that about 3200 people die due to the extent of alcohol consumption with around 81,000 people hospitalised annually. Using the experiences and knowledge of drinking habits known to cause negative outcomes in a diverse range of cultures, in an aim to reduce the negative effects of alcohol-related harm in Australia, the strategy prioritises around four areas; intoxication, public safety and amenity, health impacts and cultural place and availability (Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, 2006). Without these support of other organisations, the strategy will not be successful. Evidence proved that at least 34 countries have adopted a few formal policies to prevent the harmful use of alcohol however, restrictions on alcohol marketing and on drink-driving have increased (World Health Organisation, 2011). As a result, this is an important public health issue affecting Australia.


According to Wilson (2005), drinking alcohol has many different meanings towards different cultures. Currently and historically, it is considered as an imperative trait in the “production and reproduction of ethnic, national, class, gender and local community identities” (Wilson, 2005, p. 19-20). Wilson (2005) depict drinking alcohol as a key practice in expressing one’s self, an element in the construction and propagation of national and other cultures. However, drinking is not just roles of everyday life within culture and identity. Drinking within various cultures is authentic as it is linked between the behaviours, values, ideologies and histories of each culture. Drinking is itself an essence of culture, rather than an example of national and other cultural practices. It is a performance of an artefact that deepens into bedrock of national and ethnic culture. Per se, it is an integral social, political and economic practice, a manifestation of the institutions, actions and values of culture (Wilson, 2005, p. 19-20).

An individuals’ cultural environment in having a religion such as being a Buddhist, have a large impact on their decisions in life. The relationship between religion and alcohol use and attitude toward alcohol has been recognised for some time (Skolnick, 1958). Religion depicts the individuals’ way of life. Being a Buddhist, they follow the five precepts known to be; no lying, no stealing, no killing, no sexual misconduct and no consumption of any kind of intoxicants (e.g. alcohol, cigarettes and drugs) (Yun, Z. 2006). The fifth precept is an inextricably violating action as a Buddhist. According to the Scriptures, the evils of taking intoxicating drinks are of six kinds; 1) waste of money 2) often leads to quarrels 3) harmful to one’s health 4) source of disgrace 5) leads to impudent actions, and lastly 6) weakens a person’s power of reason (Vajirananavarorasa, P. 2011).

Alcohol drinking is not something naturally consumed; social influences are another factor impacting the rise of alcohol consumption. Causes of alcohol drinking between Generation X and Y include family pressure, peer pressure, the media and the society itself. Casswell and Thamarangsi (2009) state the industrial production and marketing development of alcohol drives alcohol use on a rise. This affects both emerging markets and Generation X and Y alcohol markets (Casswell & Thamarangsi, 2009).

According to studies, alcoholic parents may cause alcoholic children as alcohol abuse increases through generational trends. Meaning, “parents who abuse alcohol increase the odds of their children abusing alcohol” (Dara Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia, 2011). Results show that children are four times more vulnerable of abusing alcohol as their parents are alcoholics. Through these results, methodologies conclude with unanswered questions. “Does this mean that alcoholism is genetic, that it runs in the family? Or is it because children who see their parents drinking are more likely to drink themselves?” These limitations define these studies as inclusive (Dara Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia, 2011).

As for the different ways alcohol effects can affect people, there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone. People choosing to drink must realize there will always be some risk to their health and social well-being. However, there are ways to minimise the risks. The link below is for Australians, which designates a basic knowledge and understanding about alcohol and its consequences in order to make informed decisions to minimise the risk of alcohol-related harms (Australian Government, 2011).


Basic Knowledge and Understanding about Alcohol


“…society and culture are crucial in terms of their powers to affect human health and wellbeing…”

My artefact is symbolic of the five precepts of Buddhism, they believe precept five: abstain from intoxicants that cause heedlessness, is the most serious offense Buddhism teaches its practitioner not to break (Yun, Z. 2006). There is a saying that one can carry all bad deeds; lying, killing, stealing and sexual misconduct, but should one start drinking (and become drunk), he will break all the five precepts; lying killing, stealing and committing sexual misconduct (Yun, 2006).

In my opinion, being a Buddhist myself, I have reflected my way of life upon these five precepts. I believe that Buddhism encourages people to deal with life mishaps and challenges. Yun (2006) addresses the fact that many consume alcohol as another way of escaping troubles that occur in life. However, through my learning of Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha, I have learn to view problems as opportunities to learn and grow. Although alcohol is widely used and enjoyed in Australian society, it is extremely important to have control over the mind and body, and not let our social and cultural influences impact our health and welfare.


Jordan Alexander

I am very impressed as to how you have decided to incorporate alcohol drinking among Generation Y with the song by Taio Cruz - Hangover ft. Flo Rida as your artefact. I also found it interesting when you compared the song "Hangover" to the movie "The Hangover". It was a very clever idea. I believe this song describes our generation very clearly and accurately. All information and statistics within your essay, is clear that you have put a lot of time into researching your topic and finding the best quality to use. I agree with the fact that Generation Y is encouraging alcohol abuse in young listeners and how you have depicted the song with mistreating our human body. Overall, I believe you have done a wonderful work in presenting this public health issue.

Kaitlyn Joy

I enjoyed reading your view on alcohol consumption among Australia's Generation Y. The artefact of the girl fight at schoolies was a perfect example to depict our generation. Schoolies reveals how serious alcohol consumption affects our society. This is also another perfect example as to the social influences impacting our health. Alcohol can result in many serious incidents, such as injury, fights, car crashes, diseases and many more if taken on a high risk level. The information and statistics provided shows the public the importance of correcting this public health issue. In addition, a lot of work has been put into this essay.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2006). Alcohol consumption in Australia: a snapshot, 2004-05. doi: 4832.0.55.001

Australian Government. (2011). Alcohol. Retrieved from http://www.alcohol.gov.au/internet/alcohol/publishing.nsf/Content/home

Australian Government. (2011). National alcohol strategy 2006-2011. Retrieved from

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2011). Socio-economic context of indigenous health. Australian Government. Retrieved from http://aihw.gov.au/socio-economic-context-of-indigenous-health/

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2011). 2010 national drug strategy household survey report. Retrieved from http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=32212254712

Blackburn, S. (2011). Buddhism and alcohol. American National Standard Institute. Retrieved from http://www.purifymind.com/BuddhismAlcohol.htm

Casswell, S. & Thamarangsi, T. (2009). Reducing harm from alcohol: call to action. The Lancet, 373(9682), 2247-2257. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60745-5

Dara Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia. (2011). Generational trends in substance abuse. Retrieved from http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/substance-abuse-generational-trends/

Room, R., Babor, T., & Rehm, J. (2005). Alcohol and public health. The Lancet, 365(9458), 519-530. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)17870-2

Thamarangsi, T. (2006). Thailand: alcohol today. Addiction, 101(6), 783-787. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01477.x

Vajirananavarorasa, P. (2011). The five precepts. The Buddhist Golden Rule. Retrieved from http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Ethics/The%20Five%20Precepts%20-%20The%20Buddhist%20Golden%20Rule/five_precepts_the_buddhist_golde.htm

Wilson, T., M. (2005). Drinking Cultures. Drinking Cultures: Alcohol and Identity.19-20. Retrieved from

Wilson, M., Stearne, A., Gray, D., & Saggers, S. (2010). The harmful use of alcohol amongst indigenous Australians. Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. Retrieved from http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-risks/alcohol/reviews/our-review

World Health Organisation. (2011). Action needed to reduce health impact of harmful alcohol use. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/alcohol_20110211/en/index.html

World Health Organization. (2011). Public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nmh/a5818/en/index.html

Yun, Z. (2006). Why is buddhism against drinking alcohol? China History Forum, 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/topic/12281-why-is-buddhism-against-drinking-and-alcohol/

For your own entertainment.... but please drink responsibly!