ALCOHOL and drug consumption remains a big problem for a large section of the community, according to drug and alcohol addiction specialist Dr Rod McQueen.
Dr McQueen said drugs and alcohol were a problem for weekend recreational users right through to people who drank while addicted to opiods and amphetamines.
Dr McQueen said, for many people, removing alcohol from the mix would go a long way to improving outcomes of rehabilitation.
“The solution is that the whole community needs to drink less alcohol, but while ever business tries to maximise profits nothing will change, including the level of violence,” he said.
Dr McQueen said the recent arrest of former champion swimmer Geoff Huegill and his wife was just a snapshot of what was happening in social situations across the country every weekend.
He said people who drank and took illicit drugs were unaware of the huge impact it could have on their health, not to mention the consequences if they were caught.
“This type of scenario with drinking and occasional consumption of drugs is happening across the community in a wide range of professions, from nurses to lawyers, and it isn’t just high profile people who are mixing drugs and alcohol,” he said.
“If anyone out there thinks they won’t come under the notice of police or health services they are stupid.
Dr McQueen said until there was a fundamental change to drinking habits in Australia, violence would continue, while alcohol addiction combined with illicit drugs would continue to put pressure on counselling and rehabilitation services.
“We won’t have less drinking and less violence until the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) comes up with solutions,” he said.
Dr McQueen said years on from the NSW government extending trading hours, the full effect of the impact of alcohol overload is hitting home.
“The push to put more alcohol in the community in Orange has been relentless, with low-priced alcohol and long trading hours,” he said.
“The public holds the key to change and it is time for the public to be up in arms about this.”