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 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.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation believes findings in the 2019 Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and Behaviours, show more needs to be done to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

The poll results, which were released today by The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, show:

  • Fewer than half of Australians are aware of the link between alcohol use and stroke (41%), mouth and throat cancer (29%) and breast cancer (16%)
  • Nearly half of Australian drinkers consume alcohol to get drunk
  • 64% of Australians drinkers who consume alcohol to get drunk at least twice a week consider themselves a responsible drinker
  • 79% of Australian drinkers who consume six to ten standard drinks on a typical occasion consider themselves a responsible drinker

“It’s concerning so few Australians know about the links between alcohol consumption and serious health issues, such as stroke and cancer,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO, Dr Erin Lalor.

“Unfortunately, there are lots of mixed messages around alcohol but the evidence is clear. There are no health benefits from alcohol. Cutting back can reduce a person’s risk of developing chronic alcohol-related diseases,” Dr Lalor stated.

“All Australians must know that alcohol is a carcinogen. Alcohol damages cells in the body. Alcohol increases a person’s risk of cancer, including mouth, throat, breast and pancreatic cancer,” Dr Lalor added.

Dr Erin Lalor said it was encouraging that three-quarters of poll respondents agreed that more needs to be done to reduce alcohol-related harm.

“Every year in Australia, around 5,500 people die from alcohol-related injuries, illnesses and accidents. All of these deaths are preventable,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“A new National Alcohol Strategy is needed to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms, including deaths and alcohol-related diseases like cancer and liver cirrhosis,” Dr Lalor said.

“Long term investment in prevention is critical to reductions in 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.

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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 welcomes the Federal Opposition’s election commitment to prevent alcohol-related harms.

Shadow Health Minister Catherine King today announced Labor would:

  • Finalise a new National Alcohol Strategy
  • Invest $10 million over four years in targeted campaigns to reduce harmful drinking
  • Continue work on delivering pregnancy warning labels on alcohol packaging
  • Work with state, territory and local governments to limit alcohol advertising to children

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor, said these measures acknowledge the importance of investing in prevention.

“Long term investment in prevention is critical to reductions in alcohol-related harms. Prevention works socially and fiscally,” Dr Lalor remarked.
“More than 5,000 Australians are dying each year from alcohol-related injuries, illnesses and accidents. These fatalities could be avoided by implementing strong, evidence-based preventative measures,” Dr Lalor said.

Dr Lalor applauded Labor’s pledge to finalise a new National Alcohol Strategy.

“A national framework is strongly needed to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms, including deaths and alcohol-related diseases like cancer and liver cirrhosis,” Dr Lalor stated.

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.

ENDS

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