The social and economic costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory

Alcohol Public health Alcohol harms Northern Territory

The costs and harms of alcohol consumption in Australia are well documented, significant and have impacts across society including premature deaths, heavy use of the health system, high rates of crime (particularly violent crime and antisocial behaviour), child abuse and neglect, and road crashes (AIHW 2018a).

Historically, the per capita costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory (NT) have been the highest in the nation. The last time a comprehensive analysis of the nature of these costs was estimated was in 2009, based on consumption data from 2004/05 (SACES 2009; Skov et al 2010). At that time, the total social cost of alcohol in the NT in 2004/05 was estimated to be $642 million (SACES 2009). On a per capita basis, this was more than four times the comparable national level.

In an effort to provide a more robust study, an alternative quantitative methodology has been used which draws on new ways to estimate social costs. To ensure currency, the statistical analysis draws on data from 2015/16, unless specified otherwise.

While alcohol consumption in the NT appears to have decreased slightly over the past decade, this report shows that the costs and harms associated with alcohol consumption have not. Indeed, the scale of the harm has continued to increase.

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