Emeritus Professor Ian Webster is this year's winner of the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence and Outstanding Contribution to Drug and Alcohol Endeavours.
The award recognises Professor Webster's significant commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of drug and alcohol use.
Professor Webster is a physician and Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW. He is Patron of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia, Chair of the National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention, Chair of the NSW Expert Advisory Committee on Alcohol and Drugs, President of the Governing Council of The Ted Noffs Foundation and a former member of the Australian National Council on Drugs.
The award was presented on behalf of the Prime Minister by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, as part of Drug Action Week.
Speaking earlier in the week at the Milton Luger Forum, an event named after the co-founder of Sydney drug rehab service, Odyssey House, Professor Webster said alcohol played a major role in homicides and suicides.
"In 60 percent of homicides, the person committing the offence is intoxicated, and in 40 percent of the cases both the perpetrator and the victim have been drinking to the level of intoxication," he said.
"People who are depressed often use alcohol as a paradoxical way to gain enough courage to take their own lives," he said.
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