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:
03 9611 6104 or 0430 948 380
media@adf.org.au

Recent media releases

Two Years of Government Inaction Compounds NSW Alcohol and Drug Harms

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is questioning the NSW Government’s commitment to its community’s health and wellbeing following last night’s budget announcement, which ignored the recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’

“It’s been well over two years since the Inquiry and we continue to see inaction from the NSW Government, despite investing $10 million in the Inquiry, which delivered a clear roadmap for action,” said Dr Erin Lalor, ADF Chief Executive Officer.

What’s more, following the past two years of inaction – and the added complexities of COVID-19 – the situation has become even more urgent.

“We’ve seen increased rates of drinking and some drug use during the pandemic – driven by Australians using drugs and alcohol as coping strategies to deal with COVID-induced unemployment, anxiety, mental health problems and loss of social connectedness.

“These increases threaten to become entrenched habits unless critical action is taken now, with an appropriate Government commitment and appropriate funding,” Dr Lalor said.

“We must invest in evidence-based solutions, including the Ice Inquiry recommendations, to enable us to turn around increases in alcohol and other drug use before they become set-in-stone habits that negatively impact health and well-being, stripping years off our national life expectancy.

“Acting fast and at scale with a concerted boost in funding is essential to ensure this problem doesn’t linger for decades to come.”

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation also calls on the NSW Opposition to declare its commitment to implement the recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug ‘Ice’ in the lead up to the 2023 election.

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For interviews and 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 calling for more clarity on the proposed trial by the NSW Attorney-General, to divert people who use drugs away from the court system and instead encouraged to seek health support.

Under the proposal by NSW Attorney-General, Mark Speakman, police would use their discretion to issue people in possession of drugs in NSW with up to two infringement notices. However, they would have their fines waived if they participate in proposed health interventions.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM said she was concerned about the lack of details.

“We would like to know more about the specifics of the proposed model, including the fines, what health interventions and further support would be offered, and what guidelines police would receive,” Dr Lalor remarked.

"We know that a health-based approach to drug possession is needed to reduce significant harm experienced by people who use drugs. Instead of proposed trials and confusion, we are urging the NSW Government for a clear plan,” Dr Lalor added.

Dr Lalor also said it was high time the NSW Government handed down its final response into the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’.

“The Ice Inquiry report outlined clear action needed to reduce drug-related harm across NSW. It’s now been more than two years since it was released and it’s incredibly disappointing we are still yet to see the NSW Government’s final response,” Dr Lalor said.

“Drug related harm in NSW, including hundreds of deaths each year, is unacceptably high. We cannot afford further delay on action to prevent and reduce these harms. We urgently need a clear plan for a health-based response to drug possession,” Dr Lalor concluded.

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

In light of the vaping report making headlines today, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is encouraging parents to equip themselves and their children with the facts about e-cigarettes.

The Australian National University report, which shows vaping is increasing in Australia and usage is greatest in young people, highlights the important need to focus on preventing and reducing the harms associated with e-cigarettes.

“It’s clear that vaping is associated with a number of adverse health risks, particularly among young people and non-smokers,” warned the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor.

“Parents may have seen recent data on vaping and wondering what they can do. We recommend they firstly get the facts about vaping and then have an open and honest conversation with their children about it,” Dr Lalor said.

There is no set formula for parents talking to their children about drugs, but the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s top tips include:

Start with information: Get the key facts, learn the basics about vaping products, and think through what you want to say. Consider some questions you might be asked, and how you want to respond.

Approach it calmly: Parents might want to start the conversation when they’re doing an activity together with their children, such as driving or preparing a meal. Keep things casual and relaxed. Parents may want to use something they saw in a TV show or on the news (like the new vaping report) as a chance to bring up the issue.

Don’t make assumptions: If a parent thinks their child may have tried vaping, they should avoid making accusations. Going through someone’s space looking for evidence isn’t recommended because it can undermine trust.

Avoid judging or lecturing: Parents should listen to their child’s point of view and keep it a two-way conversation. Parents should be mindful of body language and tone. If their child has tried vaping, parents can try asking questions like: ‘what made you want to try?’ and ‘how did it make you feel?’

Don’t exaggerate: Parents should make sure they are honest with their children about potential harms and avoid exaggerated statements.

Focus on health and explain your concerns: Parents should focus on how they care about their children and want them to be healthy. For example, if their child is vaping nicotine, parents can say that they are concerned about the evidence that this can affect adolescent brain development.

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

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has a range of resources on its website www.adf.org.au to support parents. Key resources can be found here:

https://adf.org.au/talking-about-drugs/parenting/vaping-youth/vaping-youth-2/

Vaping (e-cigarettes) - Alcohol and Drug Foundation (adf.org.au)

If you’re looking for support services for family and friends who use alcohol and other drugs, visit adf.org.au/path2help. Path2Help is an intuitive online portal that uses a simple set of questions to identify information and support services based on each person’s specific needs and circumstances.

For information and support, people can visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website adf.org.au or call the DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84 or druginfo@adf.org.au.

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

Proposed legislation in Victoria to decriminalise all drugs is a positive step forward towards reducing drug-related harms by directing people to treatment and support, says the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF).

ADF CEO Dr Erin Lalor welcomes the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Decriminalisation of Possession and Use of Drugs of Dependence) Bill 2022 and urges Victorian Parliament to seriously consider Fiona Patten MP’s proposal.

“Harm minimisation strategies are critical for people who use alcohol and other drugs and treating alcohol and drug use as a health issue will reduce the likelihood of serious adverse events, such as overdose, dependence, and death,” said Dr Lalor.

The ADF believes Victoria has the chance to lead the country once more by decriminalising drugs.

“The Victorian Government has shown remarkable leadership in supporting people who use alcohol and drugs, including the decriminalisation of public intoxication, establishment of the North Richmond supervised injecting site and commitment to a second site in the Melbourne CBD,” Dr Lalor explained.

Not only would decriminalisation divert people who use drugs towards the support they need before more serious issues arise, says Dr Lalor, but it’s also a way to reduce stigma and further marginalisation of those who use illicit drugs.

“Stigma is a significant hurdle for people looking for support and services, preventing people from receiving critical assistance with drug challenges when they most needed it,” Dr Lalor said.

“Evidence from countries like Portugal tells us that decriminalisation works. We hope this bill is a reminder to all State Governments to put the health and wellbeing of their citizens first.”

Decriminalisation should also be accompanied by investment in, and pathways to, early intervention support and access to evidence-based treatment, added Dr Lalor.

The ADF’s online support service portal Path2Help is already supporting people struggling with alcohol and drug use across the country but demand far exceeds supply.

“Further investment in support services and infrastructure will ensure the sector has the necessary expertise and resources to meet increased demand, like the major rise we’ve seen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

If you’re looking for support services for family and friends who use alcohol and other drugs, visit adf.org.au/path2help. Path2Help is an intuitive online portal that uses a simple set of questions to identify information and support services based on each person’s specific needs and circumstances.

For information and support, people can visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website adf.org.au or call the DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84 or druginfo@adf.org.au.

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For interviews and 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 (ADF) joins more than 80 community leaders and organisations in signing an open letter calling on the Morrison Government to abandon its irresponsible plan to make alcohol more accessible.

The letter urges the Government to prioritise the health, wellbeing and safety of families and communities given the significant increase in alcohol sales during the pandemic.

Alcohol misuse in Australia costs a staggering $36 billion per year, touching every part of our community, economy, and health system. In 2019-2020, alcohol-induced deaths increased by 8.3 per cent and calls to the national alcohol hotline have doubled since 2019.

Alcohol retail sales have grown substantially over the course of the pandemic – with alcohol companies raking in an additional $3.6 billion in 2021, compared to 2019.

With increasing alcohol sales comes increased harms, says ADF CEO Dr Erin Lalor, which will impact our long-term national health and well-being, unless we act now.

“Prior to 2019, harmful alcohol and drug use had been trending down nationally - but during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a concerning increase,” said Dr Lalor. “Making alcohol more accessible will further undermine the progress we made before the pandemic and put people at higher risk of developing problematic alcohol use.”

If the spike in alcohol-related deaths and harms is not addressed quickly, says Dr Lalor, we’re likely to see corresponding increases in mental health issues, suicide, crimes, road traffic accidents, domestic violence, emergency department presentations, housing insecurity and unemployment that will take decades to address.

“Taxation is globally acknowledged to be one of the most effective ways to combat harm caused by alcohol products,” Dr Lalor said. “That the alcohol industry would call for action that weakens one of our best lines of defence against alcohol harms is deeply concerning.”

More investment in support services, infrastructure, and community awareness campaigns will help us to turn around increases in alcohol use before they become set-in-stone habits and strip years off our national life expectancy.

“After years of increased pressure and harm because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government should prioritise investment to address the increased demand, not risk making the situation even more devastating for families who are already struggling with addiction issues,” added Dr Lalor.

Read the letter and find the complete list of community leaders and organisations endorsing the Alcohol Tax Open Letter.

If you’re looking for support services for family and friends who use alcohol or other drugs, visit adf.org.au/path2help, an online portal that asks a simple set of questions to provide information and support services based on each person’s specific needs and circumstances.

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

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, positive drinking trends pre-COVID continue to reverse, according to new survey data from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF).

The latest survey data showed 25% of Aussies are drinking more now than before the pandemic started.

ADF CEO, Dr Erin Lalor, warns alcohol use as a ‘coping mechanism’ threatens to become an entrenched habit with serious health and societal implications.

“Australians have been using drugs and alcohol as coping strategies to deal with ongoing restrictions and COVID-induced unemployment, anxiety, mental health problems and loss of social connectedness,” Dr Lalor explained.

“Although restrictions have eased, the repercussions of another tough year are still being felt so we urge people to leave behind unhealthy drinking habits as we move towards a ‘new normal’,” added Dr Lalor.

The ADF is reminding people to stick to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) alcohol guidelines of no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy people.

“The updated national alcohol guidelines are a clear way to keep an eye on how many standard drinks you’re having and stay within healthier drinking limits,” advises Dr Lalor.

“Cutting back on alcohol will not only benefit your own personal health and wellbeing, but also help to combat these backsliding drinking trends and long-term effects AOD harm has on the community.”

The harm of COVID drinking on the community is top of mind for many Aussies, with one in two reporting being more concerned about alcohol and other drug (AOD) harm now than they were before the pandemic.

The survey data showed that along with AOD harm, people’s top five concerning social issues also included mental health, crime, the economy and homelessness.

While the concerns appear to be straight-forward, Dr Lalor highlights this significant change in attitudes towards alcohol, and the overlap AOD harm has across many societal issues.

“Alcohol and other drug-related harms pose an ongoing threat to our community’s health, wellbeing and resilience, impacting mental health, suicide, crimes, accidents, domestic violence, and unemployment,” said Dr Lalor.

“If this spike in alcohol and other drug use isn’t addressed quickly, we’re likely to see corresponding adverse effects on these social issues that are of most concern to everyday Australians.”

By supporting people to seek help and direct them to the best services and programs for their circumstances, Dr Lalor says, we can shift attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol and other drugs and encourage early behaviour change.

“We can turnaround the impact of the past two years and rebuild community health, wellbeing and resilience, ensuring the problems fuelled by the pandemic don’t become ingrained,” Dr Lalor stated.

If you’re looking for support services for family and friends who use alcohol and other drugs, visit adf.org.au/path2help, an online portal that asks a simple set of questions to provide information and support services based on each person’s specific needs and circumstances.

ENDS

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