Media

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team is readily available to help journalists with their media enquiries, with a range of spokespeople available to share their expertise on different alcohol and other drug-related issues.

Contact

For more information please contact:

Media and Stakeholder Manager: Carmel Green
Media Officer: Hannah Andrews
03 9611 6104 or 0430 948 380
media@adf.org.au

Recent media releases

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging Federal and State Governments to act on policies outlined in the new National Alcohol Strategy, aimed at preventing and minimising alcohol-related harms.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM welcomed the Strategy, saying alcohol causes significant harm across Australia, including alcohol-fueled violence, accidents, injuries and diseases such as cancer.

Dr Lalor also praised the Federal Government for its decision to commission a report into the social costs of alcohol to the Australian community.

“Every year approximately 150,000 Australians are hospitalised due to alcohol and 5,500 die from alcohol-related injuries, accidents and illnesses. All are preventable,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“The new National Alcohol Strategy has set clear options to reduce and prevent alcohol-related harms. Implementing the evidence-based measures would make a big difference,” Dr Lalor said.

Dr Lalor praised the National Alcohol Strategy’s priority area of managing price and availability, and reiterated her call for all jurisdictions to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.

“Introducing a minimum floor price for alcohol means that the heaviest drinkers are likely to consume less, leading to reduction of harms. We are already seeing positive signs out of the Northern Territory,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation also welcomed the National Alcohol Strategy’s objective of reducing inappropriate marketing and promotion of alcohol to young people.

“Our children should be surrounded by positive messages about health and wellbeing, not alcoholic products,” Dr Lalor said.

Dr Lalor was pleased that the Strategy acknowledged the importance communities can play in building a healthier Australia.

“Communities play a vital role in identifying, preventing and minimising alcohol-related issues,” Dr Lalor said.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au

With the silly season about to get into full swing, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging Australians to look after themselves and one another.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor AM said despite this time of year being notorious for risky-drinking, there are simple steps everyone can take to help maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation wants everyone to be healthy and safe this holiday season,” Dr Lalor said.

If you’re heading to an office party, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s top tips include:

-Set a drinking limit before the event and stick to it. Don’t feel pressured to drink heavily just because your boss is covering the bar tab. The National Health and Medical Research Centre recommends drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion to avoid injury or illness.

-Eat before and during the event. Don’t consume alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol takes longer to be absorbed by the body when there is food in the stomach.

-Pace yourself. Drink water or other non-alcoholic drinks between alcoholic beverages.

-Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol impacts your ability to drive safely. If you are consuming alcohol, the safest option is to organise alternative transport home, such as a rideshare, taxi, or assigning someone to be designated driver.

-Don’t use illicit drugs. There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug carries risk of harm, including injuries, overdose and death. Remember, an office party is a workplace event and most workplaces have a policy that outlines expected behaviour and explains consequences for breaches of conduct.

If you are organising a work party, it’s important the event is safe and inclusive. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s top advice includes:

-Consider the time of your event and the venue. Schedule your office party for the daytime, rather than the evening. Consider organising your party at a venue other than a bar; like a cinema, escape room, bowling alley or park.

-Provide food. Ensure there’s plenty of food provided, preferably substantial hot food rather than salty or sugar-laden snacks.

-Provide entertainment. Ensure alcohol is not the primary focus of the party. Plan non-alcohol-related activities such as karaoke, lawn bowls, trivia, dancing or games.

-Impose a limit on the bar tab if your workplace is providing alcohol. An unlimited bar can encourage people to drink more than is recommended. Instead, consider offering each staff member one or two tokens that can be exchanged for a drink and instruct bar staff that any additional alcohol must be purchased by individuals.

“The main focus of end of year parties should be on achievements and successes, not alcohol,” Dr Lalor remarked.

People can find more safe celebration tips here on the Alcohol and Drug Foundations website.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging the New South Wales Government to avoid a rapid, uniform abolition of alcohol regulations in Sydney’s CBD, warning the move may increase the risk of alcohol-related harms such as assaults and injuries.

The New South Wales Government today announced that the following changes will occur from mid-January next year.

  • Removal of 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including those on Oxford Street.
  • Removal of restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight in this precinct.
  • Extension of ‘last drinks’ at venues with good records in this precinct by 30 minutes.
  • Extension of bottle shop opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with 11pm closing on Sunday.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM said given the effectiveness of a suite of alcohol measures introduced in Sydney in 2014, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation would prefer they remain. However, in light of today’s announcement, the Foundation is urging a staggered approach to lifting the restrictions.

“Simultaneously extending trading hours of venues and bottle shops, whilst removing bans on strong alcohol drinks after midnight, is too much too soon,” Dr Lalor explained.

“A sensible and precautionary approach would be to lift the restrictions in stages over 12 months, with regular reviews during this time. This approach would be in the best interest of public safety,” Dr Lalor said.

Dr Lalor added that the removal of alcohol regulations must be accompanied by investment in alcohol awareness campaigns and preventative programs, as alcohol consumption remains a leading cause of injury, accidents and death among Australians.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has celebrated some of Australia’s best community sporting clubs at this year’s national Good Sports Awards, held today at Parliament House in Canberra.

Good Sports clubs from across the country were honoured for their commitment to building healthy and inclusive environments, where members look out for one another around alcohol and tobacco management, safe transport, healthy eating, mental health and positive spectator behavior.

Redpa Football Club from north-west Tasmania was crowned Good Sports Club of the Year for inspiring positive change and building a healthy, family-friendly club. It receives $1,000 for its achievement.

President Shane Hine credited the Good Sports program for its support in making the rural club the inclusive place it is today.

“For the past 20 years our club has been working towards shifting its culture from one where alcohol was a key pillar of all events, to the family-friendly and junior focused environment we are now proud to be. The Good Sports program has helped us move forwards in leaps and bounds,” Mr Hine said.

Having reached the highest level of the Good Sports program, Redpa Football Club holds regular alcohol-free events, provides safe transport options at events where alcohol is consumed and has implemented a Smoking Management Policy.

Redpa Football Club also goes above and beyond to remove barriers to participation by running free buses to and from training and providing dinner for junior players.

Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, represented the Australian Government at the Good Sports Awards ceremony in Canberra. He praised this year’s award winners and finalists, calling them community champions.

“All of the Good Sports Awards finalists should feel incredibly proud of their efforts in building strong, welcoming and healthy environments,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Sporting clubs are the beating heart of many communities and clubs that demonstrate healthy behaviours are role models for local families and the whole community. I am particularly proud that Redpa, a club from north-west Tasmania where I call home, is leading the way,” Minister Colbeck added.

Federally funded by the Australian Government and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Good Sports is Australia’s largest and longest-running health initiative in community sport.

“The Good Sports team is proudly working with almost 10,000 community sporting clubs across Australia,” said Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“The free program encourages systemic changes in club culture to promote long-term positive health outcomes,” Dr Lalor explained.

Good Sports is proven to reduce risking drinking at participating clubs by 37% and has seen a reduction of alcohol-related accidents among Good Sports club members and supporters by 42%.

The 2019 national Good Sports Award winners are:

National Good Sports Club of the Year: Redpa Football Club (TAS)

Club Champion of the Year: Rachel Fosdick - Palmerston and Regional Basketball Association (NT)

Healthy Eating Club of the Year: Softball Far North Queensland (QLD)

Healthy Minds Club of the Year: Devonport Gymnastic Club (TAS)

nib foundation Junior Club of the Year: Queanbeyan Whites Junior Rugby Club (NSW)

Rookie Club of the Year: Glenorchy District Junior Football Club (TAS)

Tackling Illegal Drugs Club of the Year: Queanbeyan Junior Tigers Australian Football Club (NSW)
Road Safety Club of the Year: Pyramid Hill Football Netball Club (VIC)

The 2019 ‘Good Sports Club of the Year’ state/territory award winners are:

WA: Quinns Districts Netball Club

ACT: Tuggeranong Bulldogs Junior AFL Club

NSW: Newcastle Netball Association

NT: Jingili BMX Club

QLD: Emerald Brothers Cricket Club

SA: Golden Grove Football Club

TAS: Redpa Football Club

VIC: Geelong Rangers Soccer Club

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For more information about Good Sports and the Good Sports Awards visit https://goodsports.com.au/awards/ or find us on @goodsportsclubs and www.Facebook.com/GoodSportsClubs.

For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging parents to arm their teenagers with the facts about alcohol and other drugs, ahead of Schoolies celebrations.

With tens of thousands of school leavers set to take part in graduation festivities next month, Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Office, Dr Erin Lalor AM said equipping young people with accurate information can help prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug-related harms, such as accidents and injuries.

“Parents take the time to have ‘the talk’ about sex to give their children the knowledge to make good decisions. Having conversations about alcohol and other drugs – the ‘other talk’ – is important for the same reasons,” Dr Lalor explained.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation encourages regular conversations between parents and their children about alcohol and other drugs.

“Parents should know that young people see them as credible sources of information,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“Ideally you would start conversations about alcohol and other drugs while your child is still in primary school, as early as eight years old. But it’s never too late,” Dr Lalor added.

There is no set formula for having the ‘other talk’, but the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s top tips for parents of school leavers include:

Get the facts:

Use evidence-based resources to educate yourself and your teenager, including the alcohol and drug foundations Drug Facts pages, interactive Drug Wheel and Text the Effects drug information service.

Look for opportunities to start the conversation:
Use relevant topics on the TV and radio, or upcoming events as an opportunity to talk about alcohol and drugs. Keep the conversation relaxed.

Ask questions:

Find out your teenager’s views and knowledge about alcohol and other drugs. Talk about what they would do in different situations.

Talk about the harms and ways to reduce them:

Discuss the harms of different drugs as well as the reasons why someone might use them. Don’t exaggerate the harms as it could make you sounds less credible. Explain how to reduce alcohol and other drug-related harms, for example alternating alcoholic drinks with a glass of water, avoiding mixing drugs, not swimming or driving whilst under the influence, how to reduce the risk of drink spiking and making sure everyone gets home safely.

Explain how to get help:
Ensure your teenager knows that in an emergency, they should immediately call triple zero. Explain that calling an ambulance does not mean that police of parents need to be involved. Calling an ambulance Could be the difference between life and death in some emergencies.

Talk about the types of support services available at events like Schoolies, such as Red Frogs, Ambulance and Police.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation encourages parents of Schoolies under the age of 18, to seek out activities and events for all ages. End of school celebrations are also a timely reminder that secondary supply of alcohol to minors is illegal in all states and territories.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is concerned by recommendations made by the Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy, warning that weakening alcohol regulations would increase the risk of alcohol-related harms.

The Committee’s recommendations that would apply for licensed venues in Sydney’s CBD precinct include:

- Abolishing the 1.30am lockout

- Allowing service after 3am

-The extension of trading hours for the sale of takeaway alcohol

- Lifting a ban on the sale of high strength alcoholic drinks after midnight

- Removing restrictions around glass in late trading periods

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, warned that softening alcohol regulations would be a dangerous move.

“A suite of measures introduced in Sydney in 2014 have led to reductions in alcohol-related harms such as assaults and injuries,” Dr Lalor explained.

“Weakening alcohol regulations would risk undoing significant progress in building a healthier and safer Sydney,” Dr Lalor said.

Dr Lalor also expressed disappointment around the recommendations to increase the availability of takeaway alcohol and allow licensed venues to continue service after 3am, including the sale of strong alcoholic drinks after midnight.

“Reducing trading hours is one of the most effective policies in reducing-alcohol-related harm,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“Increasing the availability of alcohol often leads to increases in consumption and therefore increases in alcohol-related harms such as accidents, injuries and hospitalisations,” Dr Lalor added.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email

Findings in the new Monash University report: Trends in pharmaceutical opioid-related harm in Victoria, highlights the need for stronger drug harm prevention and minimisation initiatives.

The report, published in Monash University’s Hazard Publication, has found:

-The number of opioid-related emergency department presentations in Victoria have increased significantly over a 10-year period, with an average annual increase of 3.1%

- The most commonly encountered opioid types were codeine, oxycodone and tramadol

- Polypharmacy is common in opioid-related emergency department presentations

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is extremely concerned about the continuous rise in pharmaceutical opioid-related hospitalisations in Victoria,” Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor said.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation supports the report’s recommendation to increase the availability of Naloxone.

“Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse opioid overdose. Improving access to Naloxone and associated training could help to save lives,” Dr Lalor remarked.

Better access to Naloxone is part of a suite of measures needed to reduce pharmaceutical-related harms. Australians also need to be better informed about the risks associated with drug use, including prescription medication.

“There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug carries risk of harm, including injuries, overdose, dependence and death. Mixing drugs, including alcohol, is particularly dangerous,” Dr Lalor emphasised.

“Perceptions that pharmaceuticals are ‘safe’ means many people may overlook the risks. Everyone should know that the use of pharmaceutical drug can be dangerous and even fatal,” Dr Lalor warned.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation strongly welcomes a proposed Senate inquiry into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

South Australian Senator Stirling Griff intends to move a motion this afternoon, on International FASD Awareness Day, for the Senate Community Affairs References Committee to conduct a broad ranging inquiry into FASD.

Matters the proposed inquiry will cover include:

- The level of community awareness of risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy

- Provision of diagnostic services in Australia

- Prevalence of FASD in vulnerable populations

- Recognition of FASD in the criminal justice system

- Access of FASD support available through the National Disability Insurance Scheme

- Effectiveness of the National FASD Action Plan 2018-22

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is hopeful the inquiry will complement and inform the Australian Government’s National FASD Action Plan, released in November 2018.

Since the release of the National FASD Action Plan, the Western Australian Coroner’s Court has released its findings from the Inquest into the 13 Deaths of Children and Young Persons in the Kimberley Region. Several of the recommendations relate to FASD.

“Research shows alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have a marked impact on the development of a child’s central nervous system, while long-term studies show youth with FASD have high rates of mental health problems, learning difficulties and involvement with the criminal justice system,” Dr Lalor said.

‘For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option,’ Dr Lalor added.

Dr Lalor also noted the personal commitment of Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt to addressing FASD. She was hopeful there would be a strong FASD focus in the next National Alcohol Strategy.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is concerned by findings in Australia’s Annual Overdose Report

and believes it highlights the need for stronger drug harm prevention and minimisation initiatives across Australia.

Findings from the Penington Institute report include:

-Unintentional drug-induced deaths in Australia have increased from 981 in 2001 to 1,612 in 2017

-Middle-aged Australians are significantly more likely to die from an accidental fatal overdose

-Unintentional overdose death rates continue to rise in regional Australia

-In 2016 multiple drugs were detected in more than half (59%) of unintentional drug-induced deaths

Australia’s Annual Overdose Report also shows a continued increase in the number of prescription drug overdoses, including 699 pharmaceutical opioid-related deaths and 829 benzodiazepine-related deaths in 2017.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is extremely concerned about the high number of fatal overdoses in Australia, including pharmaceutical-related deaths,” Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor said.

“If each state and territory had uniform real-time prescription monitoring systems, health professionals would have access to accurate information about a patient’s prescription history, regardless of location. This would improve quality of care for patients and help to prevent overdoses,” Dr Lalor added.

Real-time prescription monitoring is part of a range of measures needed to reduce drug-related harms such as overdose. Australians should also have better access to Naloxone and associated training; more people should be encouraged to treat pain without prescription medication where possible; and Australians need to be better informed about the risks associated with drug use, including prescription medication.

“There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug carries risk of harm, including injuries, overdose, dependence and death. Mixing drugs, including alcohol, is particularly dangerous,” Dr Lalor emphasised.

“Perceptions that pharmaceuticals are ‘safe’ means many people may overlook the risks. Everyone should know that the non-prescribed use of pharmaceutical drug can be dangerous and even fatal,” Dr Lalor warned.

For drug information or support, people can visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is encouraging people to get the facts on drugs with the launch of a free, online, interactive tool called the ‘Drug Wheel’.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor, said with lots of misinformation and sensationalism about drugs, it’s important people have access to credible and correct information.

“Everyone should have access to factual, up to date information around alcohol and other drugs, so they can understand their effects and associated risks,” Dr Lalor remarked.

Dr Lalor said that while the internet has made it easier for people to access information, it has also made it easier for misinformation to be promoted. She said this posed a challenge to credible, evidenced-based organisations.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s new tool, is based on the Drug Wheel developed in 2011-12 by DrugWatch UK, in response to the increasing number of new psychoactive substances, which didn’t fit previous drug classifications.

Traditionally, drugs have been grouped into four classifications, including stimulants, hallucinogens, depressants and analgesics. However, the Drug Wheel has seven classifications to adjust to the changing landscape of drugs, including empathogens, dissociatives and cannabinoids.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s interactive Drug Wheel can help people build a stronger understanding of the effects of different drugs by category, without needing in-depth knowledge of specific or new drugs,” Dr Lalor said.

The Drug Wheel will be useful for healthcare professionals, students and people working within the alcohol and other drug sector, as well as anyone seeking evidence-based and up-to-date information on the effects of alcohol and other drugs.

“Good information can aid decision making but it is important to remember that there is no safe level of drug use. All drug use carries a risk of harm,” Dr Lalor stressed.

The new, interactive Drug Wheel is accessible on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website or click here: https://adf.org.au/alcohol-drug-use/effects/drug-wheel/

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email them at media@adf.org.au

Thousands of community sporting club members across the Northern Territory will benefit from additional funding into the Good Sports Tackling Illegal Drugs Program.

The Northern Territory Government is investing $90,500 over the next 12 months into the program, which provides community sporting clubs information, training and support on how to best prepare for potential drug-related incidents, including assistance with developing illegal drug policies.

The funding will allow an extra 40 clubs from a range of sporting codes to participate in the program and will see at least five information forums delivered across the Territory.

The Tackling Illegal Drugs Program builds on the success of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Good Sports Program, which is working with more than 200 clubs across the Northern Territory and nearly 10,000 clubs across Australia, to create a healthier and more inclusive sporting nation.

Northern Territory Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, The Hon. Lauren Moss MLA said the Northern Territory Government is investing more than $90,000 into the Good Sports Tackling Illegal Drugs Program to help Territory sports clubs be better prepared to address drug-related issues and help to foster and support the highest standards of conduct for sports in the Northern Territory.

“We know sport is a way of life in the Territory which is why we’re supporting healthy players and clubs, and integrity across the sector,” Ms Moss said.

“The Northern Territory Government is committed to honest and ethical behaviour in all sporting activities, both on and off the playing arena,” Ms Moss added.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor, praised the funding announcement.

“This extra funding will see many more sporting clubs benefit from the Tackling Illegal Drugs Program. Sporting clubs are the beating heart of many communities and are a powerful medium to address illegal drug use,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“The Tackling Illegal Drugs Program builds healthier sporting clubs by providing information and tools needed to prepare for potential drug-related issues,” Dr Lalor added.

The Northern Territory Government funding is in addition to federal funding provided by the Australian Government under the National Ice Action Strategy.

University Azzurri FC was the Northern Territory’s first football club to achieve Good Sports accreditation and was the NT’s first sports club to develop an illegal drugs policy through the Good Sports Tackling Illegal Drugs program.

“Prevention is always the priority, and our club’s philosophy is that education is the key to minimising the risk of illegal drugs in the community, so we’ve developed a robust policy framework and undertaken an awareness campaign to highlight our stance on illegal drug use and how we deal with it should the need arise,” said Club President John Kassaras.

Good Sports is proud to be working in the Northern Territory and recently joined the NT Sport Integrity Network, a Territory wide forum for sharing strategic leadership on sport integrity issues.

For more information about Good Sports or the Tackling Illegal Drugs Program, please go to: Goodsports.com.au

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or email them at media@adf.org.au

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is excited to announce it will trial an internationally renowned alcohol and other drug prevention program in Australia.

Planet Youth is an evidence-based program from Iceland that has significantly reduced alcohol and other drug use rates in young people.

Since the introduction of Planet Youth in Iceland in the nineties, youth alcohol and other drug use rates have transformed from some of the highest in Europe, to amongst the lowest. The country has also seen increased time spent by adolescents with parents, and reductions in bullying, juvenile crime and youth entering drug treatment.

Between 1998 and 2018, the percentage of Iceland’s year ten students who had been drunk in the past 30 days fell from 42% to 5%; daily cigarette smokers in the same age group dropped from 23% to 2%; and the number of year ten students who used cannabis once or more in their lifetime declined from 17% to 6%.

Planet Youth has now been adopted in 20 countries including Ireland, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Norway.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is working with the Planet Youth team to trial the approach through the existing Local Drug Action Team Program, which is funded under the Australian Government’s National Ice Action Strategy and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

“The Planet Youth trial is a unique opportunity to apply international evidence to strengthen the work of Australia’s Local Drug Action Teams,” Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor said.

The pilot is set to take place over two-and-a-half-years in the locations listed below:

Limestone Coast (SA)

Murray Bridge (SA)

Glenorchy (TAS)

Huon Valley (TAS)

Hepburn (VIC)

Northern Mallee (VIC)

Wycheproof/Sea Lake (VIC)

Blue Mountains (NSW)

Lithgow (NSW)

Marrickville (NSW)

“The Local Drug Action Teams taking part in the trial have been selected for their strong local partnerships and commitment to preventing alcohol and drug-related harms,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“The Planet Youth trial in Australia will be tailored to the unique needs of the different communities in the pilot sites,” Dr Lalor added.

Local Drug Action Team representatives from the pilot sites will attend a training session with the Planet Youth team in Melbourne on Wednesday 26th June.

Planet Youth are currently in Melbourne for the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Prevention in Practice Conference (24/25 June).

“Preventative health works fiscally and socially. However, it can sometimes take years and even generations to precisely determine a program’s impact. Planet Youth shows that long term investment in community-led prevention leads to significant reductions in alcohol and other drug use,” Dr Erin Lalor said.

“All speakers at the Prevention in Practice Conference, including a number of Local Drug Action Team representatives, will be sharing expertise on strengthening capacity of community-led action on alcohol and other drugs,” Dr Lalor added.

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For media enquiries please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation believes a review of drug harms in Australia highlights the need for greater, long-term investments in prevention.

The Australian Drug Harms Ranking Study, published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, brought together 25 experts to rank drugs based on their harms to individuals and the broader community.

Alcohol and crystal methamphetamine were overall ranked as Australia’s most harmful drugs to both individuals and others.

Alcohol was ranked number one, with drug-related deaths, injuries, family adversity and economic costs listed as major contributors.

Crystal methamphetamine ranked second, scoring highly on loss of relationships, injury, crime and deaths.

The study says Australia’s crystal methamphetamine ranking differs to the United Kingdom and the European Union, where heroin is ranked the second most overall harmful substance after alcohol. The Australian Drug Harms Ranking Study ranks heroin third.

“Harms from alcohol and other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine are preventable. Long term investments in prevention are critical in building a healthier Australia,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO, Dr Erin Lalor.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is proudly working with communities to help prevent and minimise harms from alcohol and other drugs, through programs such as the Local Drug Action Team Program and Good Sports,” Dr Lalor remarked.

Alcohol was identified as the drug which causes the most harm to others in Australia, scoring 41 compared to a score of 24 for crystal methamphetamine, which came in at second.

“Every year in Australia, there are approximately 157,000 hospitalisations and 5,500 deaths from alcohol-related injuries, illnesses and accidents. All are preventable,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO Dr Lalor.

“There are no health benefits from alcohol. Cutting back can reduce a person’s risk of injuries and accidents, as well as the risk of developing chronic alcohol-related diseases such as cancer,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“This review reaffirms the need for a new National Alcohol Strategy to help prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms,” Dr Lalor added.

For drug information or support, people can visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website or call the DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant support and health services in their state and territory.