Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #16
Issue no. 16
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Alcohol and Energy drinks: The Problem
  • Invitation to Forum: Alcohol Promotions and Young People
  • New Reports: Alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths in WA
  • "Booze plays major role in WA deaths by injury"
  • Launch of new Alcohol and Water Safety DVD: "The Wake"
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

It’s an exciting time for those concerned about alcohol and young people in WA.
The WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition has been formed with the objective of promoting action to reduce harm from alcohol among young people.
The Coalition is supported by 80 organisations from a wide range of areas showing just how far-reaching the concerns are. Supporting organisations include medical groups, youth services, law enforcement, road safety, welfare, education, public health, Indigenous health, drug treatment, rural health, religious, injury prevention, local government, mental health, sexual health and the list goes on...
The Coalition met for the first time last week at Government House. The enthusiasm and commitment to action from supporting organisations was very special to witness. Click here to see what was said about the meeting in The West Australian.

Membership to the Coalition is open to organisations, rather than individuals, but there will be many ways that WA community members can support and be part of the activity of the Coalition – Alcohol Action Station will keep you in the loop!
Until next time,
Julia Stafford, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Elecia Wheat, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

Between 2005 and 2009, Western Australians were hospitalised 66,817 times for alcohol-related causes – that’s a total of 349,703 beddays (days in hospital) at a cost of $380 million.
Source: Drug and Alcohol Office Surveillance Report November 2011.

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Alcohol and Energy Drinks: The Problem

There is growing concern in the health community about the popularity of alcoholic energy drinks among young people. These drinks come pre-packaged (Pulse and Fairy Bombs are just two examples currently on the Australian market) or can be easily mixed at parties or licensed venues (think Vodka and Red Bull or ‘Jaeger Bombs’).
New research by FARE has found that the consumption of alcohol and energy drinks in Australia is now the norm, with young people consuming between three and five alcohol and energy drinks a night, and some drinking as many as ten - well above recommended daily limits for both alcohol consumption and energy drink consumption.
So what’s the problem?
Some energy drinks contain over 500mg of caffeine, an equivalent of six cups of coffee!
Excessive caffeine is related to insomnia, nervousness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and heart palpitations.
There are also strong concerns that energy drinks can mask feelings of intoxication. Where drinkers might otherwise get sleepy and decide to call it a night, if they’ve been drinking highly caffeinated drinks with alcohol, they’re more likely to feel wide awake and want to keep going. This pattern of drinking puts the drinker at an increased risk of harm.
Alcoholic energy drinks appeal to young people – the FARE research found the drinks are associated with fun and energy. Research conducted earlier this year by the University of Wollongong found that one-third of 12 to 17-year-olds were more likely to consume an alcohol drink if it contained caffeine or guarana.
What can be done about it?
Both the Australian Medical Association and FARE have called for a ban on the sale of pre-packaged alcohol energy drinks. Other policy options include:
  • Banning promotions for alcoholic energy drinks in licensed premises; and
  • Labelling energy drinks with warnings about the potential harms associated with mixing them with alcohol.
The WA Government has begun to acknowledge the danger of these drinks with a blanket ban on the serving of energy drinks mixed with alcohol after midnight in liquor venues in the Perth CDB, Subiaco and Northbridge.
Have you noticed an increase in the popularity of alcohol and energy drinks?
What are your thoughts on the possible policy options?  Let us know!

Invitation to Forum: Alcohol Promotions and Young People

You are invited to the lunch time presentation of findings from ‘Alcohol Point-of-Sale Promotions’ research hosted by the Department of Communities.
This unique research, sponsored by the Department for Communities - Youth and the Australian Research Council, was led by the University of Wollongong Centre for Health Initiatives to investigate the effect of promotions in liquor stores on the drinking intentions and behaviours of young people aged 18–25 years.
The forum is a great networking opportunity and will also feature presentations on:
  • ‘Speaking Out About Reducing Alcohol-related Harm on Children and Young People’ report by the Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • ‘Cheap Drinks’ report by the Drug and Alcohol Office
  • A new McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth initiative.
Date: Monday 5 December 2011
Time: 12.00pm to 2.00pm
Location: Gordon Stephenson House, 140 William Street, Perth
Who should attend: Community members and professionals concerned about the impacts of alcohol on young people.
RSVP and enquiries: or 6551 8324 by 1 December.

New Reports: Alcohol-Related Hospitalisations and Deaths in WA

The Alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths in Western Australia 2011 reports provide information on the prevalence of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related hospitalisations and alcohol-related deaths. 
In addition to the State report, reports are available for the North Metro area, South Metro area, South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Midwest, Goldfields, Kimberley and Pilbara.
Key Findings
Between 2005 and 2009, in Western Australia:
  • There were 66,817 hospitalisations for alcohol-related causes – that’s a total of 349,703 beddays (days in hospital).
  • Alcohol-related hospital admissions cost $380 million – and that figure doesn’t include costs in emergency departments.
  • More than 45% of the alcohol-related hospitalisations were due to road injuries, falls, assaults, suicide and other alcohol-related injuries (e.g. alcohol poisoning, fire injuries). These conditions accounted for 58% of beddays due to alcohol.
  • Almost one-third (32%) of alcohol-related beddays were due to falls.
  • The rates of alcohol-related hospitalisations in regional and remote areas of WA were significantly higher than in Perth.
Want the full report? View the full media article or download the WA and regional reports.
What do you think about these findings? We’d love to hear from you.

"Booze Plays Major Role in WA Deaths by Injury"

ICCWA recently hosted a forum to present the findings of a WA Health Department study of injuries in the community from 2000 to 2008.
"Booze plays major role in WA deaths by injury" - that’s how The West Australian newspaper described it. And this is why...
Key Findings
Alcohol contributed to one in five of all deaths from injury in WA.
Alcohol contributed to:

  • Almost one-quarter of all road crash fatalities
  • Almost half of all violence related deaths
  • One-third of deaths due to fires or burns
  • One-third of suicides
  • 13% of drowning deaths
  • 7% of deaths due to poisoning
  • 14% of deaths from falls.
Of all alcohol-related community injury hospitalisations:
  • 31% were due to interpersonal violence
  • 32% were due to falls.
Males had higher age-specific hospitalisation and death rates due to alcohol-related community injury than females – rates peaked in adolescents and young adults then declined until around 70 years of age.
Public health registrar Teresa Ballestas, who worked on the study, told the ICCWA forum that men tended to have more high-risk behaviour, particularly when they were young, resulting in more harm.
Hospitalisations and deaths due to alcohol-related community injuries were significantly higher than the state average in regional areas including the Kimberley, Wheatbelt and the Goldfields.
What it means:
Alcohol is a major contributor to a wide range of injuries. There is a need for population-based strategies to minimise the harmful effects of alcohol in order to curb the injury burden. Regional areas and low socio-economic areas in WA need to be targeted more with injury prevention messages.
Want the full report? Click here or view the forum presentation and a factsheet.
What do you think about these findings?

Launch of New Alcohol and Water Safety DVD: "The Wake"

The Royal Life Saving Society of WA has launched a new educational DVD for the Summer season. The DVD was created as part of the Don't Drink & Drown program, with the generous support of the McCusker Foundation.
Don't Drink & Drown aims to prevent the incidence of alcohol related drowning deaths in young people through education.
Each year, young Western Australians still take a risk by mixing alcohol and aquatic activities, but there are risks and consequences involved with even the smallest amount, especially when in, on or under the water says Tom Shalders, Don't Drink & Drown Coordinator at Royal Life Saving Society.
For information on how to purchase this resource please visit the Royal Life Saving Society of WA website.

Alcohol in the Media

Don’t forget - if you see a relevant article in your local newspaper, please send it our way.
New group takes aim at teen drunks
The West Australian, 24 Nov 2011
Doctors, child health experts and police are among the 78 organisations that have formed a powerful new lobby group in WA to fight problem drinking in teenagers.
Injuries and illness from grog cost us millions
The West Australian, 23 Nov 2011
WA hospitals are spending $76 million a year treating alcohol-related illnesses and injury, with cases in the metropolitan area rising significantly, a new report shows.
Action needed on boozy suburban teen parties

The West Australian, 23 Nov 2011
Opinion piece which draws attention to “out-of-control suburban parties”.
Alcohol causes ‘one in five’ deaths by injury
The West Australian, 21 Nov 2011
Alcohol contributes to one in five of all deaths from injury in WA, including almost one-quarter of all road accident fatalities, new figures show.
A bloody night with St John’s medics
The West Australian, Nov 19 2011
This report follows St John Ambulance medics on a weekend on Perth streets.
Discount booze war is a bottler
The Daily Telegraph, Nov 17 2011
Christmas might be just that little bit merrier - or perhaps that's messier - with Coles and Woolworths locked in a discount war on liquor prices.
Call for energy drink ban
ABC News, 15 Nov 2011
New research shows mixing energy drinks and alcohol is now the norm among young people in Australia, prompting calls for them to be banned.

The Facts

  1. Alcohol contributed to one in five of all deaths from injury in WA from 2000 to 2008.
  2. Alcohol contributed to almost one-quarter of all road crash fatalities in WA from 2000 to 2008.
  3. Alcohol contributed to almost half of all violence related deaths in WA from 2000 to 2008.
Source: The Epidemiology of Injury in Western Australia 2000-2008, Department of Health WA

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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