Employed people are more inclined to regularly drink riskier levels of alcohol than the unemployed, data suggests.
New analysis of the National Drug Household Survey 2016, released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, has highlighted a trend between alcohol consumption and employment.
While the unemployed are more likely to use methamphetamine, twice as likely to use cannabis or smoke daily, employed people are more likely to use cocaine and regularly consume ‘risky’ levels of alcohol.
The data found more employed people fall in the category of ‘lifetime risky’ drinkers – that is they drink two or more drinks per day on average, says AIHW spokesperson Mathew James.
“The percentage of employed people drinking at that level is 21 per cent, unemployed people 16.5 per cent,” said Mr James.
Also, one in three (32.9 per cent) employed people drank five or more drinks on a single occasion at least every month over a 12 months period, higher than the unemployed at 26.9 per cent.
“The only one on alcohol consumption where the unemployed is slightly higher, but the difference wouldn’t be significant, is the proportion of unemployed people who would drink 11 or more drinks at least monthly,” Mr James told AAP.
“This was a bit higher for the unemployed, but generally speaking you don’t really see that pattern for alcohol consumption its really the illicit drugs and not all the illicit drugs either,” he said.
Overall, the survey of 24,000 Australians conducted in late 2016, shows fewer Australians are drinking to excess than in 2013, with 83 per cent of people drinking moderately or abstaining.
Earlier this week, health experts called on Australians to reduce their alcohol consumption to reduce the burden of cancer.
The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risk from Drinking Alcohol suggest that an adult should drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of harm attributed to alcohol.