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Growing alcohol toll rouses concerns in Australia
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Australia's growing alcohol toll is a national disaster and urgent action is needed to address the threat, Australian Family First senator Steve Fielding said here on Monday.

A new report - released on Monday by the Australian National Council on Drugs - has found that one in 10 young people aged 12 to 17 had abused alcohol in the past week. Among 16-17-year-olds, the figure rose to one in five.

"It's just outrageous to think we've let this issue get to this stage," Fielding told Australian Associated Press.

Fielding said it was encouraging the government had supported a Senate inquiry into alcohol advertising, flowing from a bill he introduced that would impose tougher restrictions on the industry.

"It means the government is keen to see some action," he said.

The bill would ban alcohol advertising before 9 p.m., require health information labels on all alcohol products and ensure all alcohol advertising was pre-approved by a government body and did not link drinking to success.

"Alcohol kills three times more Australians than illicit drugs. But as a nation, we have tackled our road toll, we have tackled our drug toll and we've tackled tobacco, but we've done nothing about our alcohol toll," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2008)

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