Welcome to Alcohol Action Station Edition #83
Issue no. 83
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • WA Police Commissioner: "I’ve had a guts full."
  • Concern About Parents Sneaking Alcohol for Leavers 
  • Take Action on Alcohol in Your Workplace
  • Workshop invitation: Preventing alcohol and other drug harm in the community
  • Alcohol and Suicide
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

Some parents provide their teenagers with alcohol thinking that it will control the amount they drink. There is little evidence to support this belief and new research shows that doing this may in fact be more harmful.
Research shows that teens whose parents gave them alcohol in early adolescence were:

  • 3 times more likely to be drinking full serves by the time they were 16 than children in families who did not supply alcohol; and
  • 15 times more likely to get alcohol from other sources, such as relatives or friends.

Lead researcher Professor Richard Mattick said parents were the main supplier of alcohol to teens under 18. “Many of these do so with the best of intentions – to introduce alcohol in a safe, supervised environment with the aim of moderating a child’s drinking,” he said. However, contrary to popular opinion, these results show that supplying children with alcohol does not moderate their drinking.
It is important to be aware of the spoken and unspoken messages about alcohol that adults send to young people. Providing alcohol to adolescents sends the message that it’s ok for young people to drink alcohol.
Read the media release from the University of New South Wales for more.
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan DePiazz, Injury Control Council WA

did you know?

Your child’s brain continues to develop until their mid-20s. Alcohol can affect the developing brain. For under 18s, no alcohol is the safest choice.

See more at Alcohol. Think Again.

Encourage others to take action on alcohol. Forward this to a friend.
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WA Police Commissioner: "I’ve had a guts full."

The WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan has had a guts full of putting scarcer and scarcer resources into alcohol issues, he said speaking at the Public Health Association of Australia Conference in Perth this week. Karl O'Callaghan
The Police Commissioner said he prefers “prevention over prosecution”. Tougher legislation and more police powers are desperate measures by governments who don’t know how to take on prevention, he said.  “We are street-sweepers,” the Police Commissioner commented.
The Police Commissioner said that “few would argue Australia does not have a problem with alcohol” and expressed concern at the culture of ‘determined drunkenness’ where many are drinking to get drunk rather than to enjoy socialising.
The Police Commissioner also had messages for parents: Parents can’t leave it to the police, courts and justice systems. We have a supply issue. “If alcohol is a drug, then parents are the primary group of drug dealers”. Parents should be aware of the impact of alcohol on the developing brain and the message that for under 18s, no alcohol is the safest choice.  
The Commissioner expressed his support for secondary supply laws to prevent the supply of alcohol to minors without parental consent. He believed the strength of secondary supply laws would be to give parents the power to ‘say no’ to supplying alcohol, and that some parents would respond to that.
He also expressed support for the introduction of controlled purchase operations to address the issue of liquor outlets selling alcohol to minors. Thousands of alcohol purchases are made by young people under 18 each year.  The Commissioner was critical of the alcohol industry for not complying with their own policies of checking IDs at the point of sale (read more about this here). He was supportive of community voices being well-represented in liquor licensing processes, and believed that liquor licensing processes should comprehensively consider the social, health, and crime impact on the community. 
The Police Commissioner was critical of the ongoing failure to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol advertising, particularly through alcohol ads in televised live sport. “I don’t like messages that link alcohol and sport”, he said, and congratulated Healthway on the message that “Alcohol and sport don’t mix”.
Want more?
Read about the Police Commissioner’s speech in The West Australian.

Concern About Parents Sneaking Alcohol for Leavers

As Leavers approaches, WA health experts are alarmed by research suggesting parents have actively helped school leavers to smuggle alcohol, even encouraging them to replace water from freezer blocks with vodka.
Professor Simone Pettigrew from Curtin University presented the concerning findings at the Public Health Association Conference in Perth.
"The interesting thing was they wanted the relaxation and the unwinding but we were quite struck by the symbolic meaning of leavers, and that they really wanted to say 'I'm an adult' and, of course, in the Australian context saying you're an adult means drinking alcohol," Prof Pettigrew said. Professor Pettigrew said this year's leavers' celebrations would be more challenging because for the first time in WA about half of leavers would be aged 18 and legally able to buy alcohol.
McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth Director Professor Mike Daube said the study had important implications for parents and policymakers.
Read the full article in The West Australian.

Take Action on Alcohol in Your Workplace

Interested in addressing alcohol-related harm in the workplace?
Alcohol can play a large role in the culture of many workplaces, from social functions and events, to lunches and outings celebrating success and as a means of managing work-related issues including stress. Harmful alcohol use reduces workplace productivity, safety and increases absenteeism – alcohol-related harm costs Australian workplaces an estimated $3.5 billion annually on lost productivity.
The Alcohol.Think Again campaign website is a great one-stop shop for tips on taking action on alcohol in the workplace. The website provides information for employers, employees and how to develop a Fitness for Work Alcohol Policy.
As with many other workplace safety and health issues, responding to alcohol-related harm requires a “whole of workplace” approach.
Check out the website to take a risk assessment quiz, to see if you can pour a standard drink, and to learn more about developing a fitness for work policy.

Workshop invitation: Preventing alcohol and other drug harm in the community

Interested in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harm? Want to learn more about social marketing, community action and liquor licensing?
working together
Professor Steve Allsop from the National Drug Research Institute and prevention staff from the Drug and Alcohol Office will present a workshop on preventing alcohol and other drug-related harm in the community on 21-22 October.
Registrations are free and close on 6 October.
For more about the event and to find out how to register, visit the Drug and Alcohol Office website.

Alcohol and Suicide

Every 40 seconds a person dies by suicide somewhere in the world. Worldwide, over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. It is the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15-29 years. preventing suicide report
The World Suicide Prevention Day (10 Sept) and the R U OK? Day (11 Sept) held last week highlight some of the struggles people face on a daily basis and the importance of good mental health. This month, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the first report of its kind on suicide and prevention efforts worldwide.  
Risk factors for suicide are complex, but at the individual level include harmful use of alcohol. WHO reports that all substance use disorders increase the risk of suicide and that alcohol and other substance use disorders are found in 25-50% of all suicides. Of all deaths from suicide, 22% can be attributed to the use of alcohol, which means that every fifth suicide would not occur if alcohol were not consumed in the population.
Suicides are preventable. Strategies for preventing suicide include those that aim to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, such as reducing availability, regulating marketing and alcohol pricing policies.
Reducing harmful use of alcohol, restricting access to the means of suicide, and encouraging the media to follow responsible reporting practices on suicide will go a long way in preventing suicides.

Want more?
Read the full report from WHO and remember to call Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know is experiencing a personal crisis.

Alcohol in the Media

Caution for parents of school leavers
Seven News, 18 September 2014
It’s the most anxious time of the year for many parents, but school leavers week is only growing in popularity, with many of this year’s leavers already 18 and legally able to buy alcohol new challenges are thrown up.

‘Safe drinking’ campaign prompts calls for sober rethink of alcohol-related advertising during football games
Sydney Morning Herald, 18 September 2014
Families who sit down to watch the AFL preliminary final on Friday night will probably be swamped by alcohol advertising throughout the game, experts say.
Salvos’ van joins frontline against violence in memory of Thomas Kelly
The Age, 15 September 2014
Salvation Army officers will join the frontline battle against alcohol-fuelled violence – helping young people at risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator – at “safe place” vans planned for Sydney city and Kings Cross.
Comment: We’ve lost our way in fight against alcohol abuse
Herald Sun, 14 September 2014
There was a time when Victoria led the way on public health measures; when the state was not afraid to embrace bold measures to reduce harm and to save lives.
Alcohol is a no-no if pregnant
NT News, 11 September 2014
A midwife has said women should not drink even a drop of alcohol while pregnant, to avoid Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Victoria’s alarming alcohol damage figures blamed on political inaction
The Guardian, 11 September 2014
Alcohol is killing three Victorians every day, new data shows, with public health experts blaming the escalating problem on political inaction.
Breaking up is hard to do
The Conversation, 11 September 2014
There are many absurdities in society that we overlook or come to accept. For me, there are few though more absurd than our relationship with alcohol.
Beer needs to reinvent itself: Lion boss
The West Australian, 10 September 2014
Goodbye to hairy guys in singlets holding up the bar, goodbye to the classic pairing of beer buts and footy shorts.
Cricket yobbos on the outer
The West Australian, 9 September 2014
The number of drunk cricket fans evicted by the WA Cricket Association has more than halved in the first year of $2.1 million health sponsorship deal aimed at helping the sport ditch its boozy image.

Sips put kids on path to drink
The West Australian, 8 September 2014
Parents who give their children a few sips of alcohol when they are young may be setting them on a path to drinking more when they are older.
Duff Beer discontinued after complaint
SBS, 5 September 2014
Woolworths Liquor Group will no longer sell “Duff” beer, which sport similar branding to the fictional lager in The Simpsons, after it was found to have breached the voluntary alcohol industry advertising code.

The Facts

Of teenagers at a major WA leavers celebration in 2009:
  1. Over half consumed more than 10 standard drinks a day;
  2. 87% consumed more than 4 standard drinks a day;
  3. 41% had an accident or injury;
  4. 58% had blackouts;
  5. 21% reported having sex they later regretted; and
  6. 14% had unprotected sex.
Source: Lam T, et al. Alcohol and other drug use at school leavers’ celebrations. J Public Health. 2013. 
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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