Welcome to the Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter Edition #2 
Issue no. 2


In this Issue
  • Welcome to edition 2 of alcohol action station
  • local stories of action on alcohol 
  • action station: get your views out there - write to the paper
  • publications
  • alcohol in the media
  • the facts

Welcome to the second edition of Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter.

With National Youth Week in full swing it’s fitting that we bring you the second edition of the Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter which is all about giving community members some real tools for voicing and addressing concerns around alcohol and its impact on young people.   
The WA Police and the Drug and Alcohol Office of WA Prevention Workshop held in Perth last week was a great indicator that there is a lot of fantastic work being done out in the WA community, but there is still a lot that we can all do as concerned community members. There were some excellent presentations and keynote addresses, in particular from Professor John Toumbourou from Deakin University in Victoria. Prof Toumbourou gave some useful examples and evidence of how service providers can better work with their local communities to assist in preventing alcohol and other drug related harm.  Prof. Toumbourou also talked about the increasing rates of alcohol consumption by young Australians at younger ages in comparison to their overseas counterparts. 
The main themes to come out of the forum were that we all have a role to play in discouraging risky drinking and changing the culture we have around alcohol in Australia and that there are effective ways to achieve such a shift. 
Until next time,
Mary Ashe, Injury Control Council of WA and Julia Stafford, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth 


did you know?

Alcohol advertising is self-regulated by the alcohol industry. An independent regulatory body that has legal powers to deal with concerns and complaints about alcohol advertising is needed to stem the growing tide of ads that have such a great influence on our young people.  Forward this to a friend.
Forward to a Friend

Local Action Works

Last week we talked about taking action against alcohol advertisements near schools. We were pleased to receive an email from a concerned parent who had successfully partnered with local school Headmasters and lobbied the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) to remove a billboard advertising Budweiser from a bus shelter on Bayview Terrace, Claremont. The offending billboard had high exposure to commuters and students from Christ Church Grammar School and Freshwater Bay Primary School and was not compliant with the (OMA) Alcohol Advertising restrictions; which limited display to outside a 150 metre sight line of a school gate. The action from OMA was swift with the billboard removed the following day.   This is a great example of how, armed with the knowledge of the rules and the complaint process, concerned community members made a difference.  
We want you to share your story through the Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter.  No matter how big or small, your story could motivate others and remind us that we can all get involved in action on alcohol. 


Action Station: Writing letters to the Editor 

Writing a letter to the editor can be an effective way of drawing attention to a new issue or making an important issue run for a bit longer than it normally would.  Many people specifically read the letters to the editor and some people say that's all they read!  The papers receive many letters and so will only publish the ones that they think will spark readers' interest and perhaps generate controversy.  Often the fact that a community member has taken the time to write about an issue can be just what editors need to prompt them to print a letter.

Normally you’ll be responding to a current issue.   To be effective this all needs to happen quite quickly, normally within no more than 24 to 48 hours of the issue first appearing. If you are writing in response to an issue that has been in the print media or in response to a letter, make sure you reference where you saw or heard about it, for example if it was a news article in the West Australian, then refer to the paper, headline and date. Generally the shorter letters are the ones that are published, so try not to write more than about 250 words and be concise and to the point.

When you use any kind of media to draw attention to an issue, stick to a maximum of three key points or messages so that what you're trying to say about an issue doesn't get lost. 
You must submit your name, address and a telephone number so that you can be contacted by the paper if needed to clarify any issues.  Your phone number won’t be published, but your name, suburb and sometimes street will be printed. Some people are concerned about their privacy when submitting a letter to the paper.  You can request that your name and address be withheld, however this can sometimes affect the credibility of your letter and whether or not it will be printed.
Local newspapers can be just as powerful and effective as the bigger papers such as the West or the Sunday Times.  If your issue is a local one, then use your local papers. Sometimes it may be picked up by more than one local paper or even the bigger publications. Some areas have more than one publication, one is often part of the broader Community Newspaper Group which is part of News Limited and WA Newspapers and then there are other collective groups (Perth Suburban Newspapers) as well as some independent papers.  

In brief some key points for writing letters to the editor:

  • Be timely, act as soon as you see the issue, not days later
  • Present a short, concise argument
  • Try not to make more than three key points around your one main issue
  • Have someone else proof read it for typos and general flow
What to expect:
Don’t be discouraged if your letter isn’t printed!  Many people write letters to the editor and, with limited space, not all of them can be printed.  If your letter is published, well done!  You’ve got someone’s attention.  If your letter prompts others to write that’s even better. 

Do be prepared for the possibility of personal responses.  People may call or write to you at home if you’re listed in the phone book.  Keep track of any responses you get. If it's a caller who agrees with you, great! You've made a friend. If someone calls you and doesn't give you their name, hang up. If someone calls and politely disagrees, that's fine - talk to them and agree to disagree. If you get sent threatening letters (and you might), keep them, at least for a while and call the newspaper's editorial page to let them know.  


Young People and Alcohol - an issues paper
The Commissioner for Children and Young People is an independent role filled by Michelle Scott.  The Commissioner advocates for all children and young people in the State and especially for those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged for any reason.
The Commissioner’s office has recently released an issues paper about Young People and Alcohol  which discusses the impact that excessive alcohol consumption has on the wellbeing and safety of young people.  The paper also outlines evidence-based strategies to help tackle risky drinking among young people and the broader community.
In line with what many of us know to be effective strategies to positively impact excessive alcohol consumption in our community, the paper talks about banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sporting and cultural events, increasing tax on alcohol, and helping parents develop the skills to reduce the risk factors that lead to problematic alcohol use by young people.
Young People and Alcohol – Issues Paper 6 is available on the Commissioner’s website.

Alcohol in the Media

In each edition of Alcohol Action Station we will feature a summary of recent WA alcohol-related media.  We don’t have access to all WA newspapers - or the resources to go through them - so if you see a relevant article in your local newspaper, please send it our way.
Looma and Pandanus Park: Grog bans in place
Kimberley Page, 31 March 2011
The Aboriginal communities of Looma and Pandanus Park in the Shire of Derby/West Kimberley will be declared restricted areas under section 175 of the Liquor Control Act 1988 in a move strongly supported by members of both communities.
Hospital security review needed: WA oppn
The West Australian, 28 March 2011
Recently released figures reveal there were 2272 assaults on Health Department staff between January 2009 and December last year. The increasing incidents of violence against frontline hospital staff are largely drug and alcohol related. 
Pubs free to flout drunks law
The West Australian, 24 March 2011
A report released by the Auditor-General has highlighted the difficulties faced by the WA Police in enforcing liquor licensing laws particularly in regard to serving practices in licensed venues. 

Key Facts

  1. Nearly half of 16 -17 year old WA school students report ‘One of the main reasons I drink is to get drunk’.
  2. 80% of alcohol consumed by people aged 14-24 years is consumed in ways that put the drinker’s (and others’) health at risk of short term harm (e.g. falls, assault injuries, road crashes, burns).
  3. On average, 5 Australians under 25 die from injury and disease caused by hazardous drinking in a week. 
Alcohol Action Station aims to provide the WA community with the tools to take action to reduce harms from alcohol among young people. It is provided by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth in association with the Injury Control Council of WA. You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to receive Alcohol Action Station fortnightly e‐newsletters and urgent bulletins.

Copyright © 2011 McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and the Injury Control Council of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
You are getting this because you have subscribed to the Alcohol Action Station regular e-newsletters and urgent bulletins.
Mailing address:
McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Curtin University Health Research Campus GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845 
Injury Control Council of WA
2 Delhi St

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