Experts are reminding people of the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption, with new figures revealing almost 30,000 alcohol-related hospitalisations in Victoria in a 12 month period.
According to the latest Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre's Victorian Drug Statistics Handbook, there were 29,694 alcohol-related inpatient hospitalisations in the state during 2010-11.
These hospitalisations resulted in 113,117 bed days, with an average of approximately four bed days per alcohol-related hospitalisation.
As Victorians prepare for the holiday season, Professor Dan Lubman, from Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and Monash University said people needed to be aware that excessive alcohol consumption could land them in hospital.
"While most people are able to consume alcohol in moderation, the decision making part of your brain becomes less effective the more you drink. There is a clear link between intoxication and increased rates of road accidents, injuries and assaults," Professor Lubman said.
Professor Lubman said while men still accounted for the majority of alcohol-related medical admissions, making up 61 per cent of incidents, excessive alcohol consumption was an issue which both genders had to take seriously.
"In 2001-02, there were 6,727 women hospitalised for an alcohol-related incident in Victoria. However, in 2010-2011, that jumped to 11,484 women. The harmful effects of alcohol don't discriminate, regardless of gender," Professor Lubman said.
The research also revealed that in 2010-11, men in the 50 to 54 year age group had the most alcohol-related presentations (1,635 people) followed by the 55-59 year age group (1,629 people).
Among women, the 40 to 44 year age group (1,389 people) had the most presentations followed by the 50 to 54 year age group (1,269 people).
Turning Point Head of Clinical Services Dr Matthew Frei said the stereotype that it was just young people who consumed alcohol excessively was incorrect.
"No matter your age, excessive alcohol consumption can adversely affect your body and the way you behave," Dr Frei said.
Dr Frei said while hospital staff would provide medical treatment prioritised by need, he was concerned with the number of serious alcohol-related acute presentations, saying they could be prevented.
"The last place you want to end up during the holiday season is a hospital emergency department because of an alcohol-related incident," Dr Frei said.
More information: The Victorian Drug Statistics Handbook can be downloaded here, with alcohol-related hospitalisation details on page 70.