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Hungover Australians take 11.5m sick days a year

Hungover employees cost the Australian economy approximately AUS$3 billion dollars (£1.4 billion) a year by taking 11.5 million days off for alcohol and drug related illnesses, a study has revealed.

The lead author of the report believes people dare unaware that drinking at the weekend causes their absenteeism

The study, titled Alcohol- and drug-related absenteeism: A costly problem, revealed that alcohol or drug related (AOD) absenteeism has risen by more than half since 2001, when the cost to the economy was estimated to be a maximum of AUS$1.2 billion.

The data was consolidated by Flinders University National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), who used nationally-representative data from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey to calculate the impact on the economy.

To analyse the cost, researchers from the NCETA estimated the mean difference in absence for AOD users in comparison with abstainers, and also used data from participants self-reported absence.

The study surveyed a total of 12,196 people; 56.3% of men and 43.7% women who were an average age of 41.1 years.

Among the 12,196 people surveyed, 56.1% consumed alcohol at a “low-risk” level, 26.6% drank at “risky” levels and 9.3% were classified as drinking at at “high-risk” levels, while just 8% abstained.

In addition, participants self-reported missing a total of 1,688,161 days due to alcohol and 854,497 days due to drug use.

Lead author of the report, Professor Ann Roche, director of NCETA, told MedicalXpress that people often “didn’t realise” that drinking was the cause of their absenteeism.

She said: “Often people will have a lot to drink on Friday or Saturday and then have diarrhoea or gastro-type symptoms on a Monday morning that are a direct result of the alcohol, but they don’t connect these with their drinking.”

Roche concluded that Australian businesses should do more to “promote healthy behaviour”.

She added: “I would recommend that organisations develop and implement a formal AOD policy, provide education and training regarding AOD use, and provide access to counselling and treatment.

“The good news is that these kinds of strategies have been shown to be highly effective in addressing this kind of absenteeism behaviour.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that communities across Australia have been brewing “bathtubs of moonshine” in their homes using yeast extract Vegemite, leading to a “prolific” problem.


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