Alex Wodak was the director of the alcohol and drug service at St Vincent’s Hospital until last July, a position he held for more than 30 years. He has seen firsthand the shift towards seeking fast comfort, saying there was much more pressure on populations now compared with 20 years ago and people were turning to anti-anxiety drugs or sleeping pills for a quick fix.

”People work seven days a week and are always available because of computers and phones, working around the clock,” he says. ”Family life is sacrificed and I think we’re paying the price. We have to look at what kind of community we want, and we need politicians to implement family-oriented policies.

”We are living in an era where a lot of people are seeking comfort and solace from chemicals; it is a trend that is very supported in our culture.”

via Legal drugs might represent a quick fix but dependency proves hard to swallow.