Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #59
Issue no. 59
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Industry Has Little Thirst For Its Own Warning Labels
  • Update on Calls for Secondary Supply Laws in WA
  • Action Station: Working with Local Media
  • Tips From Public Health Experts
  • Sports On The Right Track
  • New Research On Pre-Loading
  • Alcohol Consumption Reduced But No Cause for Celebration
  • Take Action on Alcohol Advertising
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

“Mixing alcohol with energy drinks has become popular, but with what risk?”
In a recent paper published in the British Medical Journal, Associate Professor Peter Miller expressed concerns about the energy drink industry’s role in research that explores the harms of mixing energy drinks and alcohol.
A/Prof Miller worries that research funded by the energy drinks industry downplays the potential harm caused by energy drinks mixed with alcohol. “Many of the researchers who draw reassuring conclusions from this research have been funded by a major producer of energy drinks, Red Bull”, writes A/Prof Miller.
Much of the research to date does not consider real world levels of consumption. ”Because of ethical concerns about people getting too drunk and drinking too many energy drinks, much of the research in laboratory setting has studied only the effects of combining low levels of alcohol intoxication...with a single energy drink (equivalent to a strong cup of coffee)”, writes A/Prof Miller.
“Some researchers doing these studies have concluded that we should not be concerned about the risks of combining alcohol and energy drinks. But evidence from these studies does not convincingly refute the hypothesis that more energy drinks consumed with more alcohol facilitates intoxication and increases the risk of alcohol related injuries and assaults”, writes A/Prof Miller.
Want more?
Read the full report here and media coverage here.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts at
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan Farley, Injury Control Council WA

did you know?

The Pregnant Pause is about challenging Australians to ‘take a Pause’ from alcohol during the pregnancy of a loved one – wife, partner, daughter, sister, friend or work colleague. If someone you care about is pregnant, consider doing the Pregnant Pause to support her and support the cause.
Encourage others to take action on alcohol. Forward this to a friend.
Forward to a Friend

 Industry Has Little Thirst For Its Own Warning Labels

The alcohol industry has failed to implement its own DrinkWise warning labels with an independent audit revealing that only 37% of alcohol products in the audit sample carried the DrinkWise consumer information messages. Australian health ministers have given the industry until the end of this year to voluntarily implement the labels.Audit
“The Government flagged its intention to mandate pregnancy warning labels from 2014, and in response, the best industry can muster in two years is to apply vague pregnancy related messaging to slightly more than one in four products. It’s simply not good enough”, says Michael Thorn, Chief Executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).
Key findings:
  • Fewer than 4 in 10 (37%) alcohol products carry DrinkWise consumer information messages. This represents an increase from 16% in 2012.
  • The audit found that most DrinkWise messages remain largely hidden, with 86% taking up less than 5% of the label, and 93% of all messages placed on the back, bottom, or side of the product.
  • Based on the total sample of products audited in 2013, 35% of beer/cider products, 31% of wine and 43% of spirit / mixed drink products carried any of the consumer information messages.
“The audit makes it very clear that the alcohol industry isn’t capable of implementing a robust, evidence-based effective alcohol warning label initiative. Any further delays are simply not in the public’s interest”, Mr Thorn said.
Want more?
Read the full report, the FARE media release, and media coverage.

Update on Calls for Secondary Supply Laws in WA

ABC_730ReportIn light of the news that the review of WA’s liquor laws has been delayed once again to November, Samantha Menezes and other concerned parents are ensuring the issue of secondary supply does not slip from the agenda.

Last Friday, Samantha Menezes appeared on a fantastic ABC 7.30 Report about secondary supply along with Michelle Scott, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Professor Steve Allsop from the National Drug Research Institute and WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan.
Want more?
Read a Grog Watch article for more information and watch ABC’s 7.30 Report.

Action Station: Working with Local Media

Media coverage of alcohol issues is a good way to get the exposure necessary to increase public awareness and get alcohol on the public agenda. Forms of local media include newspapers, radio stations and online news sites that are interested specifically in what’s happening in the local area.  Journalists need to get lots of new stories each week - you might have an idea that interests them! radio_on_air
So why might you want to go to the local media? It may be to...

  • Highlight local examples of alcohol-related harm and ways it could be prevented
  • Raise awareness of a community initiative to reduce harms from alcohol
  • Show community concern about something
  • Draw attention to young people who are doing good things in the community (a good news story)
Before approaching journalists, do your homework to give your issue the best chance of being covered. Points to consider:
  • Is the issue/event about the local area? Emphasise the local angle.
  • How does it affect the local community? How are local residents involved?
  • Is there a picture opportunity? Suggest one or send in your own quality photo.
  • Are you clear on the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’?
  • Is there a local community member available to comment on the issue? Provide their details and make sure they are prepared and available.
  • Make sure there’s a sense of urgency to the issue – give them a reason to cover it now.
If you are approaching the media on behalf of a community organisation, preparing a media release can be an effective way of getting across the information. For a beginners guide to writing media releases and more media tips, download the Advocacy Toolkit from the Public Health Advocacy Institute (its free!).
What to expect:
Journalists work to tight deadlines and often don’t have direct control over what stories they cover (that’s the editors job). Whether your story gets run will depend on what else is happening at the time – timing is important but you can’t always foresee major events which will compete for the media’s attention. Building rapport with local journalists and being prepared will give you the best chance of success.

Tips From Public Health Experts  

The Public Health Association of Australia held its annual conference in Melbourne recently and a range of speakers shared a goldmine of knowledge on how to successfully tackle public health issues.Nicola_Roxon_PHAA_Conference
Former Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon had plenty of practical advice for public health advocates on working with the new government. She suggested focusing on minimum (floor) price of alcohol, FASD, low alcohol products, and taxation.
McCusker Centre Director, Professor Mike Daube, revealed the secrets of successful public health advocacy, including sharing the lessons he’s learned over the past 40 years. Check out Prof Daube’s 11 Commandments of public health advocacy.
Want more?
Visit the Croakey blog for special coverage of the conference.

 Sports On the Right Track

 “… many Australians consider the association of alcohol with sport as normal. This association is not accidental”, writes David Malone, Executive Director of Healthway, the WA Health Promotion Foundation, in a recent article on the alcohol blog Drink Tank. soccer
Recent announcements by the WA Cricket Association (WACA) and Perth Glory about dropping unhealthy sponsors have been significant for public health and helping sport associate itself with a healthy lifestyle.
David Malone discusses the reasons behind Healthway’s sponsorship of the WACA – their largest dollar value partnership: “Reducing exposure to alcohol promotion (especially those with a high degree of exposure to children and young people) can only be a good thing and help reduce consumption, especially among young people who are interested in cricket.” 
“… as each new sport makes the decision to dump alcohol sponsorship, public pressure intensifies on sport administrators who continue to allow their sport to be held captive by the alcohol industry”, writes David Malone.
What else is new on DrinkTank?

New Research On Pre-Loading

Pre-loading (or pre-drinking) - drinking alcohol before going out - is of significant concern to those interested in preventing harm from alcohol.
Key findings of a recently-published review of the literature on pre-loading include:
  • Young people who pre-load are more likely to drink excessively, become intoxicated and encounter more alcohol-related problems than those who do not.
  • The main reasons for pre-loading were to get drunk, social ease, the price of alcohol, difficulty obtaining alcohol if underage, to make the night more ‘interesting’, and to provide an environment for socialisation and conversation.
  • People tend to overestimate the amount others are drinking during pre-loading.
  • In young people, pre-loading is seen as a supplementary form of drinking (i.e. not as a substitute for later drinking).
Want more?
Foster, JH & Ferguson, C 2013. Alcohol 'Pre-loading': A Review of the Literature. Alcohol and Alcoholism first published online September 18, 2013.

Alcohol Consumption Reduced But No Cause for Celebration

Consumption of alcohol in Australia has fallen for a second year in a row. Australians drank 1.4 million litres less in 2011-12 than we did in 2010-11, according to estimates of ‘apparent consumption’ from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Estimates of ’apparent consumption’ relate to the amount of alcohol available for consumption, rather than actual consumption, and do not account for factors such as waste or storage.Wine_glasses
Consumption of beer has fallen (and is at its lowest point in 66 years) as has consumption of spirits and ready-to-drink beverages, while consumption of wine is on the rise.  
These latest figures from the ABS should be viewed in the context of decades of ups and downs in the sale and consumption of alcohol beverages. “In terms of apparent consumption of pure alcohol per capita, total consumption has fluctuated over the past 50 years”, writes the ABS. Alcohol consumption peaked in Australia in 1974-75 at 13.1 litres per person and then fell to 9.8 litres in 1995-96. Since then, consumption gradually increased to 10.8 litres in 2006-07 and 2007-08, before declining over the past 4 years to 10.1 litres in 2011-12.
Want more?
Read the ABS report here and media coverage here.

What do you think? Let us know what you think of these findings.

Take Action on Alcohol Advertising

Seen an alcohol ad recently that concerned you?AARB
It may have been on a bus shelter or billboard, on T.V as you watched the cricket, on YouTube before your favourite music video or in your daily newspaper.
Alcohol advertising impacts on the drinking behaviours and attitudes of young people, and young people are exposed to alcohol advertising in many different forms. Next time you see an alcohol ad that concerns you, let the Alcohol Advertising Review Board know about it. The Alcohol Advertising Review Board accepts complaints from the Australian community about alcohol ads and aims to provide independent review of alcohol advertising in Australia.
Making a complaint is simple – just send a pic or link to the advertisement (if you can) and briefly describe why it concerns you. At you will find an online form and contact details to submit complaints.
To stay up to date on all Alcohol Advertising Review Board determinations, follow @AlcoholAdReview on Twitter.

Alcohol in the Media

Ambos on frontline of growing challenge
The West Australian, 21 September 2013
Paramedic Bree Morrow has seen drugs and alcohol become increasingly part and parcel of her call-outs.
Watchdog targets growth and sales of bottle shops
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 2013
The spread of shops selling alcohol next to other goods must be reined in and bottle-shop sales should be monitored to track links to domestic violence and other harm, the state’s liquor watchdog says.
Sydneysiders set to form jury on alcohol
West Australian, 17 September 2013
Alcohol-related violence in Sydney keeps making headlines and now a jury of more than 40 citizens is set to be empanelled with the task of tackling the issue.
Alcohol ‘bloodbath’ over: conference
Newcastle Herald, 17 September 2013
Newcastle has shed its reputation as a “bloodbath” after dark thanks to measures to cut alcohol-fuelled violence, the city’s top police officer said on Monday.
Karl O’Callaghan lashes booze culture ahead of dry month campaign, Ocsober
Perth Now, 16 September 2013
Teenagers who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to become dependent on alcohol compared to those who do not start until the age of 21.
Women urged to avoid partner’s drinking habits
Perth Now, 15 September 2013
Sobering up is hard enough, but it’s that much tougher when your better half is a booze-hound.
Spotlight on parents giving alcohol to kids
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 2013
Parents and other adults supplying alcohol to under-18s at parties or at home should be forced to abide by new rules ensuring there is “responsible supervision”, under proposed changes to NSW liquor laws.
Should fetal alcohol disorder be classed a disability?
ABC, 12 September 2013
Doctors and families argue that the biggest way to combat fetal alcohol spectrum disorder would be to recognise it as a disability.

The Facts

  1. Those who mixed energy drinks with alcohol self-reported consuming significantly more alcohol than those who consumed alcohol alone and were more likely to report pre-drinking.
  2. People who reported consuming energy drinks were more likely to have experienced any form of aggression and injury in the past three months than those who had not.
  3. People who had consumed energy drinks were also more likely to report having driven while drunk.
Source: Miller, P et al. Patron Offending and Intoxication in Night-Time Entertainment Districts (POINTED) - Executive Summary.
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.

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