Territorians have imbibed more than three million litres of pure alcohol in the last year – about 1000 full strength beers per person.
The new statistic from the Justice Department has prompted the NT government to concede drinking is its “number one problem”.
According to the figures, there was 3,225,555 litres of pure alcohol sold wholesale in the Northern Territory last financial year.
This means every Territorian over the age of 15 consumed, on average, 1300 full-strength beers.
It equates to almost four cans per person a day.
“We’ve got a major alcohol problem,” said NT Attorney-General Chris Burns.
“No one’s against anyone enjoying alcohol in moderation but it’s obvious it’s becoming a big concern for the Territory.
“We admit there are further steps to be taken.”
Booze hotspots such as Alice Springs have been declared dry areas by the NT government to curb drinking while grog bans were introduced in Aboriginal communities across the Territory as part of the federal intervention to combat child sexual abuse.
But Dr Burns said these bans had pushed problem drinkers into regional centres.
“Grog is the number one problem for the Northern Territory, and as a government we’ve always acknowledged that,” he told the ABC.
“I believe our problems in our regional centres and our major centres has been exacerbated by the intervention.”
The high booze consumption has coincided with a jump in the number of people caught by police for being drunk in public.
In the 12 months to June, police needed to take people home, to shelter or to the cells on 50,000 occasions – triple 1999 levels.
Police said most of the cases involved Aboriginal people and repeat offenders.
NT police statistics showed 2,022 drink drivers were arrested and charged in the eight months to August 31.
“It is an absolute disgrace,” Road Safety Superintendent Bob Rennie said at the time.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Marion Scrymgour called for public housing estates to be listed as dry areas to stop attacks on women at home.
“I’ve had enough,” the NT News quoted her as saying.
“Everyone who lives in the neighbourhood is continually being woken up because a woman is screaming and a man is drunk, with a steel pole, bashing in the door, bashing these women to within an inch of their life.”