OBJECTIVES: Despite widespread use of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), there are no published contemporary population-level scores for Australia. We examined population-level AUDIT scores and hazardous drinking for Australia over the period 2007-2016. METHODS: Total population, age- and gender-specific AUDIT scores, and the percentage of the population with an AUDIT score of 8 or more (indicating hazardous drinking), were derived from four waves of the nationally representative National Drug Strategy Household Survey, weighted to approximate the Australian population. RESULTS: In 2016, the mean AUDIT score was 4.58, and 22.22% of the population scored >/=8. Both measures remained stable from 2007 to 2010 but declined in 2013 and 2016. Scores were highest in those aged 18-24 years, the lowest in those aged 14-17 or 60+. A downward trend in AUDIT scores was seen in younger age groups, while the 40-59 and 60+ groups increased or did not change. CONCLUSIONS: Despite an overall decline in AUDIT scores, nearly one-quarter of Australians reported hazardous drinking. Implications for public health: The marked declines in hazardous drinking among young people are positive, but trends observed among those aged 40-59 and 60+ years suggests targeted interventions for older Australians are needed.
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