Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #71
Issue no. 71
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • New Research: “The Big Night Out”
  • Save the Date: Perth Seminar On The Role of Parents
  • New U.S. Research: Which Alcohol Brands Do People Prefer?
  • New Study Shows Just How Much Alcohol Companies Spend On Advertising
  • Seen an Alcohol Ad that Concerns You?
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

It’s that time of the year again! The results are in for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s (FARE) Annual Alcohol Poll.
The poll looks at Australia’s attitudes towards alcohol, alcohol policies, and drinking trends. It has once again highlighted the nation’s growing concerns about alcohol harms and complex relationship with alcohol.
Some of the findings of the survey of 1,545 Australian adults include:

  • 78% believe Australia has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse.
  • The top problem associated with excess drinking or alcohol that Australians are most concerned about is alcohol-related violence, with 81% concerned.
  • Almost half of those polled in WA (47%) had experienced alcohol-related violence (compared to 37% nationally).
  • 76% believe that alcohol-related problems in Australia will either get worse or remain the same over the next 10 years.
  • The proportion of drinkers consuming 1 or 2 standard drinks on a typical occasion increased from 47% in 2013 to 55% in 2014.
  • In 2014, 28% of drinkers consumed 3 to 5 standard drinks; 15% of drinkers have 6 or more drinks per occasion. 
  • 36% of drinkers drink to get drunk (down from 40% in 2013). That equates to 4.2 million Australians.
  • 3.6 million Australians felt guilt or remorse after drinking, 2.8 million could not stop drinking once they started, and 2.6 million could not remember what had happened the night before.
  • 67% of drinkers report being influenced by a promotion when purchasing alcohol.
  • WA adults (64%) are most likely to be aware of the guidelines to reduce health risks from alcohol.
  • Only 39% of Australians who are aware of the guidelines know that no more than 2 standard drinks is recommended to avoid long-term risks of alcohol-related harm. 
“We are starting to see a better awareness and a better understanding in the Australian community of the many ways in which alcohol can harm not only the drinker, but also those around them,” said Michael Thorn, FARE Chief Executive. However, “…the reality is that we still have too many Australians engaging in dangerous drinking practices.”  
What do Aussies think of alcohol policies?
  • 84% of WA adults believe more needs to be done.
  • 64% believe Governments are not doing enough to reduce harms.
  • The graphic below shows some of the alcohol policies that have strong community support (from page 10 of the report). 

Page 10 of FARE report
McCusker Centre Director Professor Mike Daube said the results confirmed people want action, including measures recommended by health authorities and the recent review of WA’s liquor laws. He said the 85 member groups in the WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition would press all MPs to support early action.
Want more?

Read the full report and media release on the FARE website.
Read media coverage here and here
Read an opinion piece about the report in today's The West Australian by WA Police Commissioner, Karl O'Callaghan here.

Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan DePiazz, Injury Control Council WA

did you know?

The use and abuse of alcohol is the single issue highlighted consistently by children as the issue that makes them feel unsafe in their own communities. 

Source: Bessell & Mason. Putting the pieces in place: Children, communities and social capital in Australia. 2014.

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 New Research: “The Big Night Out” 

New research from Melbourne sheds light on the drinking patterns of young, risky drinkers on their most recent ‘big night out’.
The researchers aimed to describe the drinking patterns of young Melbournians aged 18 to 25 on their most recent high-risk drinking occasion (more than 7 standard drinks for women and more than 10 for men).
Key findings include:
  • The last heavy drinking session typically started on a Saturday, usually at 5.30pm and lasted an average of over 9 hours.
  • Young people reported drinking an average of 13 standard drinks during their last heavy drinking session.
  • Most heavy drinking sessions started in a private home (62%). Pubs/bars (37%) or nightclubs (35%) were the most common second drinking locations.
  • 38% of those who started drinking in a private home drank in that location alone, and 11% went on to drink at another private home.
  • Spirits were most commonly consumed, followed by beer.
  • Young people reported spending an average of $79 on alcohol across the last heavy drinking occasion.
The report notes “…almost half of those who commenced drinking in private homes, drank only in private homes…Therefore, while pre-drinking may be an important issue in the Australian context, it is important that we do not neglect those who drink in private homes alone…high risk drinking occurs not just in entertainment districts, the focus of much media attention and research, but also in locations where alcohol sales through packaged liquor outlets rather than pubs/bars/clubs are likely to be key.”
Want more?
Read the full report in the latest edition of Drug and Alcohol Review.

Source: Dietze, et al. The big night out: What happens on the most recent heavy drinking occasion among young Victorian risky drinkers? Drug and Alcohol Review. 2014.


Save The Date: Perth Seminar On The Role of Parents

Dr Conor Gilligan from Newcastle University will visit Perth in April and present at a public event about young people and alcohol, and the role of parents. This is a public event and everyone is welcome to attend.
Dr Gilligan’s work is at the forefront of research into the role of parents in delaying and reducing adolescent alcohol consumption in Australia and internationally. Her research has investigated factors that influence parental behaviours, including parental supply of alcohol to adolescents; parental perceptions of social norms and family factors influencing adolescent alcohol use. She has identified promising approaches to intervening with parents which overcome some of the limitations of current programs such as limited parental reach.
Event details:
Adolescent alcohol initiation and consumption: The role of parents
Date:                    Wednesday 9 April, 10am-11am
Venue:                 Edith Cowan University,
                              Mt Lawley Campus
                              Building 18, Room 101
RSVP:                  Daniela Christou:; 9370 6350.

New U.S. Research: Which Alcohol Brands Do Underage People Prefer?

New U.S. research has compared alcohol brand choices  between underage youth (those under 21 years of age – the legal alcohol purchase age in U.S.) and adults.image of a can
The findings show that “Underage drinkers are not just adopting the brand choices modeled by their parents or other adults,” said lead author Michael Siegel, Professor of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. “Other factors are influencing which brands of alcohol young people are consuming.”
Several brands appear to be disproportionally consumed by young people, including Keystone Light beer, Bacardi malt beverages, Malibu rum, Captain Morgan rum, and Smirnoff malt beverages.
Some explanations offered in the study as to why young adults could be attracted to these brands include:
  • Several brands listed are among the less expensive brands on the market;
  • Young people could be drawn to the sweet or flavoured spirits such as Malibu rum; and
  • Alcohol marketing influences brand preferences.
“Further research is urgently needed to understand to what extent other factors such as price, taste and marketing play a role in young people’s choices of these particular brands,” said study co-author Dr David Jernigan, Director of the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth.
Want more?
Read the media release and the full report.

New Study Shows Just How Much Alcohol Companies Spend On Advertising 

A new U.S. report shows a staggering U.S.$3.45 billion was spent on alcohol advertising and marketing by 14 major beer and distilled spirit companies in the U.S. in 2011. 

The report also outlines how the marketing dollars are allocated:
  • FacebookCompared to 2008, alcohol companies spent less on traditional media and substantially more on digital and online advertising in 2011 – there has been a fourfold increase in digital expenditure from
  • 31.9% was spent on traditional media (TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers).
  • 28.6% was spent on point-of-sale
  • 17.8% was spent on sponsorships and public entertainment; and
  • 6.8% on outdoor and transit marketing.
Equivalent information is not yet publicly available in Australia. However, given the global nature of the alcohol industry, this report may give us an indication of how alcohol companies choose to spend their marketing dollars in Australia.

Want more?
Read the media release which includes a link to the full report.

Seen an Alcohol Ad That Concerns You? 

Seen an alcohol ad that concerned you? Contact the Alcohol Advertising Review Board!  
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.

AARB logoCheck out some recent determinations: Follow the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (@AlcoholAdReview) on Twitter.  

Alcohol in the Media

Alcohol unwelcome at school balls
The West Australian H+M, 26 March 2014
They may have the dress, the date and the luxury transport but are Year 12s attending this year’s round of school balls well prepared when it comes to saying no to alcohol or drugs at post-ball parties?
Safer town after alcohol restrictions
ABC AM, 22 March 2014
There’s been a dramatic drop in violent behaviour following the introduction of alcohol restrictions in a remote South Australian town.
Health call for harder stand on pubs, clubs
The Age, 21 March 2014
Victoria should follow NSW’s lead by introducing 3am last drinks in pubs and clubs and a statewide ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol after 10pm, health groups say.
Liquor laws: all quiet on the eastern front
Daily Telegraph, 17 March 2014
Hospital admissions due to alcohol-fuelled violence have dwindled thanks to the government’s new liquor laws, emergency department doctors have said.
Serving alcohol to parents at school social events could have a bad influence on children, charity warns
The Independent (UK), 16 March 2014
Primary schools applied for permission to serve alcohol to parents at more than 8,000 events last year, leading to fears that children may pick up dangerous drinking habits.
Alcohol research groups oppose Northern Territory proposal to criminalise drinking while pregnant
ABC News, 15 March 2014
A Northern Territory Government proposal to introduce legislation that could see pregnant women prosecuted for drinking is facing strong opposition from alcohol research groups and Aboriginal leaders.
Help for alcohol birth defects
The West Australian, 14 March 2014
The Federal Government plans to make foetal alcohol spectrum disorder a registered disability, which will enable potentially thousands of WA children to get support and treatment they cannot get.
Opposition health MP warns of further cuts to drug and alcohol agencies
The World Today, 13 March 2014
The Labor Party is warning that the Federal Government’s axing of one of the country’s longest-running drug and alcohol bodies could be the forerunner to more cuts in other health organisations. 

The Facts

A new briefing paper from the UK highlights how alcohol-related brain damage is poorly understood by the public and many healthcare professionals. The report shows:
  1. There is much ignorance in the community about alcohol-related brain damage.
  2. Many people tend to stereotype alcohol-related brain damage as an extreme affliction of a distinct group of easily identifiable ‘problem drinkers’ rather than placing it firmly in the context of our drinking society.
  3. Unlike some other forms of mental impairment, alcohol-related brain damage is not a progressive condition – it does not inevitably worsen, and can be successfully treated. 
Source:  Alcohol Concern 2014. All in the mind. Meeting the challenge of alcohol-related brain damage.
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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