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Welcome to Alcohol Action Station | 2 May 2019
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Video Conference: Generating Constructive Messages in Your Local Community

You are invited to a video conference on grassroots AOD media and advocacy, hosted by the Mental Health Commission and the PHAIWA Alcohol Programs Team on Tuesday 14 May 2019 at 10am-12pm.
 
The session will provide participants with a broad overview of how to build positive relationships with local media and introduce a variety of advocacy strategies to assist in reducing the harms associated with AOD use in their communities. Participants can contact the presenter, Julia Stafford, ahead of time to discuss issues or questions they are interested in being addressed: j.stafford@curtin.edu.au.

 

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Queensland Removes Alcohol Ads from Government Owned Property

In exciting news, the Queensland Government will remove alcohol and unhealthy food advertising from Government owned property, a move that has been welcomed by public health groups. Alcohol advertising will be removed from Queensland’s rail network, busways, bus shelters, roadsides, and outside major hospitals. 
 
The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) congratulated the Queensland Government, highlighting that this move demonstrates their continued leadership in preventing and reducing the harms caused by alcohol. “The Queensland Government has again demonstrated leadership in taking evidence-based and decisive action to reduce the harm from alcohol and improve the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders,” said Dr John Crozier, NAAA Co-Chair.
 
Queensland now joins Western Australia, the ACT and Victoria in moving to remove alcohol advertising from public transport infrastructure and reducing children and young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising.

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Peak Bodies Support Pilbara Liquor Restrictions


The WA Council of Social Service (WACOSS) and WA Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (WANADA) have supported the proposed liquor restrictions for the Pilbara and called on the Government to support greater community engagement in reducing alcohol-related harms in the region. Pilbara manager of WACOSS, Sarah Turner, said that the proposed liquor restrictions will positively contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of communities, “Our local community services are behind the proposed liquor restrictions. We see first-hand the harms experienced by people as a result of high levels of alcohol consumption. This includes hospitalisations, road traffic accidents, workplace safety, and general and mental health. It is essential that we, as a community and a region, all contribute to the solution.”
 
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Kimberley Liquor Restrictions: Reductions in Hospitalisations and ED Presentations

Restrictions on the sale of full-strength alcohol in WA’s Kimberley region have been effective in reducing the use of health services in the region.
 
In Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, there was a significant reduction of over 40% and 50%, respectively, on rates of alcohol-related hospitalisations and emergency department attendances over the six years after the restrictions were introduced. Domestic violence and injury related hospitalisation rates were also reduced by over 20% in both towns.
 
The researchers concluded that the study provided evidence that the restriction has contributed to the significant reduction in alcohol-related hospitalisations and emergency department attendances in Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek.

READ THE RESEARCH

Concern over CSIRO Pro-Alcohol Research

A former CSIRO researcher has accused the agency of supporting pro-alcohol research and ignoring “the contradiction of health and viticulture departments sharing the public purse.”
 
“The global community remains unaware that through these alcohol research programmes funded by the government, taxpayer money is used to directly subsidise an industry with devastating effects on global health,” Dr Saul Newman wrote in The Lancet. In a comment to The Guardian, Dr Newman described his concern, “I was deeply disturbed to find that research aimed at developing new and better alcohol varieties, and generating more alcohol, received enormous support within CSIRO. Coming from a medical science institute it was shocking to see how pro-alcohol research received such a grand endorsement, and taxpayer money, from a government body.”
 
Julia Stafford from PHAIWA’s Alcohol Programs Team said that with less than 2% of the health budget being spent on prevention, other areas of government spending shouldn’t undermine efforts to reduce alcohol problems in the community.

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'Healthy Alcohol' Once Again in the Spotlight

Health experts have raised concern over the alcohol industry mixing alcohol with soft drink alternatives like kombucha and marketing ‘low carb’, ‘sugar free’, and ‘gluten free’ alcohol products under a ‘health halo’ because they mislead consumers into thinking alcohol is good for you.
 
“It’s a really big concern that alcohol companies are trying to make drinks look healthier when really it’s the alcohol content of these products that is the major health concern. It doesn’t matter what you put with it, all the risks that come with consuming alcohol stay the same,” said Julia Stafford from PHAIWA’s Alcohol Programs Team.
 
Our team published a paper on the proliferation of supposedly healthy alcohol products last year; you can read it in Public Health Research and Practice.

READ MORE IN THE HERALD SUN

Alcohol Ads in Sport Fuel Drinking Culture

Repeated exposure to alcohol advertising in sport – either at venues or during television coverage of matches – can have long-term effects on drinking attitudes, according to a new international study.
 
“What we showed is that alcohol advertising and sponsorship not only send a message directly encouraging people to drink, but tends to implicitly and/or unconsciously associate a product, like beer, within a specific context of going to the football or watching a sports match on television," said the study co-author, Professor Kerry O’Brien from Monash University.
 
Lead author, Dr Oulmann Zerhouni, added, “We also found that exposing people to an alcohol brand, and more strongly to a mainstream alcohol brand, leads to more positive attitudes towards alcohol more generally.”

READ MORE IN B&T

Alcohol and Violence: New Research

New research published in Drug and Alcohol Review shows that alcohol is frequently involved in family and domestic violence incidents, particularly in intimate partner violence.
 
An online survey of over 5,000 Australians found that approximately a third of all violence incidents experienced were alcohol-related. Alcohol use was also associated with a higher chance of physical violence and of injury at intimate partner violence. In intimate partner violence incidents, alcohol was most often purchased from a supermarket liquor store and drunk at home.
 
The authors concluded that policy interventions like reductions in outlet density or a minimum price for alcohol may reduce intimate partner violence incidents, given that most alcohol involved in these incidents is purchased at liquor stores.
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Study of Heaviest Drinkers Validates Control of Cheap Alcohol

Research by Dr Michael Livingston and Dr Sarah Callinan from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research into Australia’s heaviest drinkers has found that the heaviest drinking 10% of Australians drink more than half of all alcohol consumed in Australia. On average, people in this group drink around 6 standard drinks per day.
 
The heaviest drinkers were mainly men living in remote and regional areas who were more likely to drink cask wine and full strength beer than other drinkers. They were also more likely to buy cheaper alcohol than other drinkers, supporting calls for regulating alcohol prices to reduce alcohol harm.
 
Michael Thorn from FARE supported price control measures, “This research provides important evidence that addressing cheap alcohol is a highly targeted way to reduce harm among Australia’s heaviest drinkers.”

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Alcohol in the news

New York bans alcohol ads on most city property
The New York Times, 30 April 2019
Eighteen months after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority banned alcohol advertisements on New York City buses, in subway cars and in stations, the City of New York has followed suit, instituting its own ban on most city-owned properties.
 
Alcohol harm on agenda
Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, 26 April 2019
The Lower South West Football League has partnered with the Southern Forests Alcohol and Other Drug Management Committee to address dangers behind the alcohol culture in sport.
 
Liquor restrictions step closer in Broome
The West Australian, 18 April 2019
Voluntary takeaway alcohol restrictions are a step closer to being introduced in Broome, after the conditions of the limits were officially agreed upon.
 
Under the influence – glamour and spin used to manipulate us to drink
Croakey, 16 April 2019
VicHealth has released new research looking into how the alcohol industry uses social media influencers to sell their products to impressionable young people and how often these partnerships are undisclosed.
 
Fifty per cent drop in NT alcohol-related violence due to ‘revolutionary’ new policy
ABC RN Breakfast, 16 April 2019
Crime statistics show alcohol-related violence has dropped 50% in Alice Springs since a raft of new alcohol policies came into effect in the Northern Territory last year.
 
The remarkable women of Yungngora who saved their town
The West Australian, 15 April 2019
A feeling of peace permeates the Indigenous community of Yungngora, punctuated by shrieks from children playing chasey in the red dust, the sizzle of a barbecue and a gentle chatter among families sitting underneath a pergola.
 
Parents main source of alcohol for children, ignoring health warnings
Sydney Morning Herald, 14 April 2019
Parents are the main source of alcohol for high school students, ignoring repeated warnings about the harmful effects of drinking on children.
 
State agencies call for liquor restrictions support
The West Australian, 12 April 2019
Two WA peak bodies have issued a joint call for health to be made front-and-centre in the debate over Pilbara-wide liquor restriction as they urge the State Government to do more to educate community members about the grassroots impact of alcohol abuse.
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