EMERGENCY workers have identified alcohol as a much bigger drug problem than the amphetamine ice on the Fraser Coast.
At a meeting held at Hervey Bay hospital with Labor senator Chris Ketter, alcohol was named as the "first, second and third" reason why people are taken to the emergency ward on a Friday or Saturday night.
"Ice is a serious issue in some areas," Mr Ketter said.
"Compared to alcohol here it's not even in the same ball park - not at this stage."
A Wide Bay Health spokesman said between 2011 and 2014, there had been about 1000 patients who had gone to the Hervey Bay and Maryborough Hospital emergency departments because of an alcohol-related incident.
"These presentations vary from overindulgence in alcohol and facial cuts through to brain injury and liver failure," he said.
The spokesman said intoxicated patients could be more difficult to treat because their understanding of the treatment was affected.
Not only can drunken patients be unco-operative, but they can become aggressive and violent towards the emergency staff members who are trying to help them.
"While the number of alcohol-affected patients impacts on the number of beds occupied at our local emergency departments and the broader health system, there is also an issue of alcohol-affected patients and visitors abusing WBHHS staff."
Fraser Coast Al-Anon group leader "Fenn" said a person's problematic drinking or alcoholism deeply affects the people around them.
"When my ex-husband was drinking I had two kids so I became over responsible and angry because they're not fitting into the family life and they're affecting everyone," Fenn said.
"A lot of frustration and anger goes with it because someone you love is drinking out of control and won't stop, and a lot of the time they tell you it's your fault, but it's not."
IF you or a family member need help, you can contact the Wide Bay ATODS (Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Services) on 4122 8777.