Australia’s death rates from diseases directly attributed to alcohol have fallen from the levels of 20 years ago, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows.
Alcohol-induced death rates were 5.1 per 100,000 Australians in 2017, compared with 6.6 deaths in the late 1990s.
The ABS’s Justine Boland said 1,366 alcohol-induced deaths were recorded in 2017, with those commonly occurring in males aged in their early 60s and caused by alcoholic liver diseases.
However, alcohol was a major contributor to many other deaths, particularly those involving injuries. In total 4,186 registered deaths mentioned alcohol.
Australia's leading cause of death continued to be heart disease, although the number and rates of death from coronary artery disease continued to decline.
But as death rates from heart disease and stroke decreased, other diseases such as dementia, which includes Alzheimer's disease, continued to increase.
A bad season last year pushed the number of influenza-related deaths to 1,255 in 2017, nearly triple the 464 deaths from the flu recorded in 2016, with older Australians and those with weakened immune systems most affected.