Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #60
Issue no. 60
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Invitation To Seminar With UK Expert: Making Rational Alcohol Policy
  • McCusker Centre Website
  • DrinkTank Special: Young People and Alcohol
  • The Best Night of Your Life
  • Advocacy in Action Toolkit: New Edition Now Available
  • Action Station: Introducing ADF Search
  • Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
  • Take Action on Alcohol Advertising
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

The role of music in influencing children and young people’s choices when it comes to alcohol has been the focus of recent research, both in the US and the UK. concert
Last month, we discussed the findings of a US study with specific reference to alcohol brand mentions. In this edition, we discuss findings of a UK study which looked at lyrics of Top 10 UK singles in 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011 for references to alcohol.
Key findings

  • The proportion of Top 10 songs referencing alcohol increased sharply between 2001 and 2011. In 2011, almost 1 in 5 (18.5%) Top 10 singles referred to alcohol and 1 in 8 (12.6%) referred to heavy drinking.
  • Songs that remained in the charts for more than 10 weeks contained significantly more references to alcohol and heavy drinking.
  • References to alcohol and heavy drinking were more prevalent in Urban (R&B/Rap/Hip-Hop) songs and songs from the US. Of all references to alcohol in 2011, 72.7% were in songs by US artists.
  • Songs released by collaborating artists were more likely to contain alcohol references than those by solo artists.
  • In 2011, songs with positive and neutral references to alcohol out-weighed the much smaller number of negative references.                     
“Public health concerns are already focussed on the impacts of alcohol advertising on the drinking behaviours of young people, yet the growing reference to alcohol in popular music may mean that positive alcohol promoting messages are reaching much larger audiences; regardless of restrictions on direct advertising”, write the study authors. 
Want more?
For more information, read the full journal article and media coverage of the study here and here.

To read about the US study, check out Edition 58 of Alcohol Action Station. 
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan Farley, Injury Control Council WA

did you know?

Almost a quarter of music videos shown on Australian T V on Saturday mornings, a time that is considered suitable for viewing by children, were found to contain legal drug references and alcohol featured in almost all of these.
Source:  Johnson, et al. 2013. Legal drug content in music video programs shown on Australian television on Saturday mornings. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 48(1):119-125. 

Encourage others to take action on alcohol. Forward this to a friend.
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Invitation to Seminar With UK Expert: Making Rational Alcohol Policy

The McCusker Centre, National Drug Research Institute and Healthway invite you to a seminar with Healthway Visiting Fellow, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore. This is a public event and everyone is welcome to attend. 
Sir Ian is one of the world’s leading experts on alcohol policy and is one of the UK’s leading physicians. He has played a leading role in alcohol policy development, working with health and medical organisations, media, politicians, and community groups to increase the focus on action to reduce harms from alcohol.
Sir Ian will discuss the evidence base for rational alcohol policy, the factors preventing progress and the potential for coalition approaches to influencing governments.
Event details
Date:       Friday 1 November 2013, 12pm to 2pm (lunch provided)
Venue:    Level 2 Seminar Room, Curtin University Health Research Campus
                10 Selby Street, Shenton Park
RSVP:     By COB 29 October 2013 to Julia Stafford, or 9266 9079.
Want more?
See the event flyer for further information.

McCusker Centre Website

The McCusker Centre website has been experiencing some technical problems in recent weeks. We apologise for any inconvenience.
We are in the process of upgrading the website. In the meantime, if there is something you would like from the website and aren’t able to access it, please feel free to contact us at

DrinkTank Special: Young People and Alcohol

This month the alcohol blog, DrinkTank, is running a special edition on young people and alcohol. Each week, guest posts from young people, researchers, parents, and organisations that work with young people will be featured.
To start the ball rolling, Professor Sandra Jones from the Centre for Health Initiatives discusses social norms and how teenagers, parents, schools, councils, police, health services, media, community groups and individuals can work together to build a community where it is ok for teenagers not to drink in her post Why don’t we want teenagers to drink?.
Prof Jones called for encouragement and support of parents who want to say no to providing alcohol to their teens and for the development of strong communities that support each other in ensuring teens stay alcohol free for as long as possible.
“If we want to reduce this alcohol-related carnage, we need to provide our young people with an environment in which not drinking is not only possible but also encouraged. We need to communicate, and celebrate, the fact that majority of teens are NOT drinking”, writes Prof Jones.
Anna Ashenden from Ychange? discusses the power of positive messaging, stereotypes, and social norms concerning alcohol and young people in her article Busting myths about young people & alcohol. “If young people believe that all young people are trouble, out drinking until they pass out, taking drugs and destroying property… what are they going to do? Try to fit into the norm, that’s what”, she writes.  

Anna urges us to start a new conversation, one that focusses and celebrates the positive choices and actions of young people.
Want more?
Read Prof Sandra Jones’ and Anna Ashenden’s blogs on DrinkTank.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts at

The Best Night of Your Life

Do you remember the best alcohol-free night of your life? Was it a concert, a music festival, a great party, or perhaps catching up with friends over an amazing dinner?

FARE_best_nightThe Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is running a campaign called “Best Night of My Life” and is inviting people to tell the story of the best alcohol-free night of their lives.
To start it all off, Jo Allebone from FARE shared a personal account of the best night of her life as a 14 year old, attending a Green Day concert. Read her fascinating story on DrinkTank.
Want to join in on the fun?
  • Tweet a photo of the best night of your life to @FAREAustralia using the hashtag #bestnight, or post your photo on FARE’s Facebook page. 
  • Consider writing a blog post for DrinkTank about the best night of your life without alcohol.
Remember, you don’t need alcohol to have fun! 

Advocacy in Action Toolkit: New Edition Now Available

The Public Health Advocacy Institute has released the 3rd edition of the Advocacy in Action Toolkit!

PHAIWA_toolkitThe Advocacy in Action Toolkit is a great resource to support your efforts to promote action on the issues you’re most concerned about! The updated toolkit provides an introduction to public health advocacy and is jam-packed with examples and tools to help you reach your advocacy goals.
The toolkit is targeted to public health professionals but can be used by all community members eager to take action.  It includes many great examples of community action, including Samantha Menezes’ calls for the introduction of secondary supply laws in WA.
The new edition includes tools to support you in:
  • Writing letters to politicians;
  • Meetings with politicians;
  • Interviews on radio and television;
  • Online action, including creating petitions and using social media; and
  • Writing letters to the Editor.
Download the toolkit for free from the Public Health Advocacy Institute’s website.
What do you think? Let us know what you think of the toolkit and if you’ve found any sections or tools particularly useful.

Action Station: Introducing ADF Search

Want access to some of the best resources on alcohol and other drugs?ADF Search
The Australian Drug Foundation has launched a new portal, ADF Search, which is the place to go for alcohol and drug-related research and information.
ADF Search has a huge range of material selected by the Australian Drug Foundation including reports, journal articles, and even e-books. Most of the material is free to browse and it’s easy (and free!) to become a member.
Check out ADF Search and see what you can find...

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol

Award-winning journalist, Ann Dowsett Johnston, combines research with her own personal story of recovery in her new book about the rise in risky drinking among women, Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.
“Somewhere along the line, my occasional evenings of drinking too much morphed into drinking on an almost nightly basis. When my son left for university, when the marathon was over and the house was empty, I was lonely. It was then that my evening glass of wine turned into two or three, which eventually became three or four”, writes Ann.
Ann also writes about how the alcohol industry has marketed its products directly to women. “Women had never been targeted before in the way they were targeted: after alcopops came distilled spirits line extensions – flavoured vodkas, absolutely every fruit you could imagine.”
Want more?
Read excerpts of the book on Salon and Ann’s piece in the New York Post.

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.
Check out some recent determinations by the Alcohol Advertising Review Board:
To stay up to date on all Alcohol Advertising Review Board determinations, follow @AlcoholAdReview on Twitter.

Alcohol in the Media

State accused of slow action on drinking laws
The West Australian, 10 October 2013
A peak youth affairs group says the State Government is dragging its heels in introducing liquor reform that addresses under-age and binge drinking.
Call to lift drinking age ‘worth testing’
The West Australian, 9 October 2013
A WA public health expert says a national trial of a legal drinking age of 21 could help show whether it reduces harm such as drunken behaviour and is acceptable to the community.
Queensland’s epidemic of underage drink-drivers
The Sunday Mail (QLD), 6 October 2013
They’re too young to drink and some far too young to drive – but each year police catch hundreds of children drunk behind the wheel.
Call to use teens in alcohol sting
Newcastle Herald, 4 October 2013
Teenagers should be used to “sting” bottle shop retailers who sell alcohol to under-18s, says a former NSW health official.
Woolies wins booze battle
The West Australian, 2 October 2013
Woolworths has had a legal victory in its bid to open an alcohol “superstore” in Bicton after an appeal court rules the WA Liquor Commission failed to properly apply the public interest test when rejecting the retail giant’s application.
Alarming number of children hospitalised for drunkenness
Nine MSN, 1 October 2013
Almost 300 children aged 11 and under and 6,500 older teenagers were admitted to UK hospitals last year as a result of alcohol.
Students choose adventure over alcohol for schoolies
Sydney Morning Herald, 29 September 2013
HSC students are ditching alcohol at end-of-year schoolies celebrations, picking overseas jaunts over booze-soaked local destinations.
Opinion of a Year 10 student: Parents, please stop letting kids drink
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September 2013
The uneasy silence from those in power while teenagers drink their lives away is always frightening.
More want help for alcohol and drug woes
The West Australian, 27 September 2013
Health experts are warning the State Government against downgrading any drug addiction services, as figures reveal clinics are handling more alcohol and cannabis problems and a surge in helpline calls from parents.

The Facts

  1. A two-tiered drinking culture is developing where fewer school students aged 12 to 17 in WA are using alcohol, but of those who drink, more are drinking at risky levels.
  2. More than one-third (36.2%) of WA 12 to 17 year old and almost half (45.9%) of 16 to 17 year old school students who had consumed alcohol in the past week reported drinking at levels considered to place adults ‘at risk’ of short term harm in 2011.
  3. The proportion of students drinking at risky levels significantly increased between 1993 and 2011.
Source: Bridle, R et al. 2012. Australian School Student Alcohol and Drug Survey: Alcohol Report 2011 – WA results. 
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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