Drug Campaign Supported

A good model for action to stem alcohol consumption

The Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) today supported the Federal Government’s public awareness campaign highlighting the risks young people expose themselves to by using illicit drugs.

“This third stage of the National Drugs Campaign is a clear indication there is a continuing strong commitment to reach out and educate the 18 to 25 year-old target group and their families about the negative aspects of excessive alcohol and other drug use,” Ms Donna Bull, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ADCA, said.

“Every day workers in the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector see the devastating health and emotional effects these drugs have on individuals, and the subsequent flow-on impacts on families and friends, hospitals and medical facilities, as well as law enforcement and the Courts.”

The $32.9 million four-year National Drugs Campaign prevention strategy is targeting all Australian households and providing education/ awareness resources for young people at risk, ethnic communities, service providers and stakeholders.

“While focussing on drug-use reduction by enlisting families to sit down and talk with their young children and friends, we must not lose sight of excessive alcohol consumption, particularly by young people, with increasing problems of bingedrinking,” Ms Bull said.

“Only last week, a Alcohol Related Brain Injury Australian Services (ARBIAS) report stated more than two million people are risking brain damage, and an industry insider claimed the alcohol industry is targeting young people with ready-to-drink ‘alcopops’.”

Research shows that across Australia some 2.7 million working days are lost due to alcohol related absenteeism, with the economic impact of this being about $5 billion per year.

“Alcohol is a killer with some 3000 alcohol related deaths annually in Australia, with another 10 000 people requiring major on-going treatment,” Ms Bull said.

“Alcohol-related disease needs more recognition as one of the most significant public health issue faced by Australia, and requires high priority attention in a similar vein and funding to that allocated for illicit drugs awareness and education.”

Ms Bull said the AOD sector urgently needed more support to enhance the work of the dedicated workers across Australia.

“A ‘black hole’ when dealing with alcohol and drug-related issues is the fact that excessive alcohol consumption and the use of ‘ice’ and other drugs by young people often goes hand-in-hand, Ms Bull said. “This combination is lethal.”

Ms Bull said alcohol and other drugs awareness campaigns and support for frontline workers must continue and key stakeholders in the community, government and business sectors need to be engaged to acknowledge alcohol and drugs issues, individually and combined, continue to be national health care priorities.

16 August 2007