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

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has welcomed the findings of a senate committee report into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The final report from the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into Effective Approaches to Prevention and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) contains 32 recommendations covering the prevention, diagnosis, and management of FASD.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor, AM, said she was particularly supportive of the report’s recommendation that alcohol companies introduce pregnancy health warnings on alcohol products ahead of 2023, when they will become mandatory.

“Too many Australians are unaware that drinking alcohol during pregnancy, or while trying to conceive, risks adverse outcomes such as miscarriages, still births, low birth weight and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD),” Dr Lalor said.

“It is crucial Australians are aware that not drinking alcohol is the safest option during pregnancy as there are several risks associated with consuming alcohol while pregnant or trying to fall pregnant.

“People affected by fetal alcohol exposure are at risk of life-long brain damage which may result in learning difficulties, mental illness, chronic offending behaviour and subsequent incarceration. They often require lifelong support,” Dr Lalor said.

Key recommendations from the report include the need to:

  • improve data collection on FASD, including a national prevalence study and research into the cost of FASD in Australia
  • introduce Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Items that cover the range of clinical practices involved in FASD assessments, diagnoses and treatments
  • include FASD in the Australian Government list of recognised disabilities
  • screen children and young people within the child protection and youth justice systems for FASD
  • engage with First Nations organisations to improve access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people in remote Australia and the development of community-led projects to prevent and manage FASD.

The Committee also recommends the need to address the broader culture of alcohol that contributes to higher-risk alcohol use through the introduction of marketing, pricing and taxation reforms set out in the National Alcohol Strategy.

“This report recognises the need to tackle FASD in the community and introduce significant prevention initiatives,” Dr Lalor said.

“We now need all Australian Governments to play a part and commit to implementing these recommendations.”

“If implemented, these recommendations can impact future generations and improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.”

For free and confidential 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 non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support 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

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor, AM, said it was regrettable that not-for-profit organisations, like the ADF, and other vital community groups had been caught up in the Facebook ban.

The ADF’s Facebook page had been stripped of content this morning.

“The Facebook ban means the ADF and other vital health and not-for-profit organisations are impacted,” she said.

“We are not a news organisation. We are vital to community health and as so Facebook needs to rectify this immediately. This could impact lives and it’s irresponsible.”

For 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 Aussies to take care if they plan on drinking alcohol outdoors this Australia Day holiday.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor, AM, said many would be spending the public holiday with family and friends at backyard barbeques and at parks and beaches across Australia.

Dr Lalor encouraged Australians to follow the new alcohol guidelines, which were released recently by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), to reduce the risk of alcohol harm.

“The guidelines are built on the latest evidence and recommend healthy adults drink no more than 4 standard drinks in one day to reduce the risk of injury. Healthy adults should have no more than 10 standard drinks a week to reduce the risk of serious long-term health impacts like cancer.”

“A standard drink may be less than you think. One standard drink is a 285ml of full-strength beer or a 100ml glass of wine,” Dr Lalor explained.

She also urged them to be aware that alcohol can increase your risk of sunburn.

“Simply put, alcohol has a detrimental effect on your body and it decreases your ability to protect your skin from UV light,” Dr Lalor said.

“It only takes a few drinks to reduce the amount of UV light needed to burn the skin. Overall, alcohol consumption increases the risk of sunburn development and severity.”

She said it was well known that exposure to UV radiation from the sun was the primary risk factor for melanoma.

Dr Lalor also urged people to hydrate if they were spending time outdoors.

“Both alcohol and the sun can cause dehydration,” she said.

“Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that when you consume alcohol the body releases more fluids in comparison to other liquids and this can cause dehydration.

“Dehydration and sun exposure are significant factors that lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Effects of heat-related illness include headache, nausea, dizziness, delirium, fainting and even coma.

“We all know the damage sun exposure can cause, so this is another reason to be careful about how much alcohol you consume,” she said.

“Ensure you keep yourself cool by drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. Always space alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.  Protect yourself with sunscreen, shade and a hat.”

Tips from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation for people drinking alcohol this Australia Day, include:

  • Don’t drive or swim. If you are drinking alcohol, the safest option is not to get behind the wheel or swim. If you are out and about, assign a designated driver or pre-organise alternative transport home, such as a rideshare or taxi.
  • Eat before and while drinking. Eating slows your drinking pace. It also fills you up. If you have a full stomach, alcohol will be absorbed slower. Avoid salty snacks though as they may make you thirsty.
  • Pace yourself. Take sips, not gulps, and drink at your own pace, not someone else's. This means avoid drinking in rounds or trying to keep up with the fastest drinker. If you are in a round, drink a low or non-alcohol drink.
  • Have a 'spacer' every couple of drinks. Start with a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst before you start drinking alcohol. Then have a non-alcoholic beverage between other drinks.
  • Don't just sit and drink – stay busy. Play cricket, throw the frisbee, or talk to friends under a shady tree. If you have something to do, you tend to drink less.

More tips to reduce alcohol-related harms can be found here: https://adf.org.au/reducing-risk/alcohol/

For 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 supports new alcohol guidelines released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to reduce the risk of alcohol harm and improve the health of Australians.

Built on the latest evidence, the guidelines recommend:

  • To reduce the risk of serious long-term health impacts like cancer, healthy men and women have no more than 10 standard drinks a week
  • Healthy men and women should have no more than 4 standard drinks in one day to reduce their risk of injury
  • Anyone under the age of 18 should not drink any alcohol to help prevent injury and other harms to their health
  • Women who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or breastfeeding should not drink alcohol, as it’s safest for the health of their baby

“It’s been over a decade since the alcohol guidelines have been updated. The new guidelines reflect the most up to date evidence on the health impacts of alcohol, which have evolved considerably,” explained Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“The evidence is clear. The less you drink, the lower your risk of harms such as injuries, illnesses, dependence and diseases like cancer.”

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation supports the new alcohol guidelines and is committed to educating the community about them. By understanding the new guidelines, people will be able to make informed decisions about their drinking.”

“The new guidelines will play a particularly important role for those Australians wanting to reduce their alcohol consumption after their drinking habits may have changed since the outbreak of covid-19,” Dr Lalor added.

Dr Lalor expressed concerns over the alcohol industry’s criticisms of the guidelines and attempts to downplay the harms associated with alcohol consumption.

“The alcohol industry has a fundamental conflict of interest over the impact of alcohol on people’s health because it wants to sell as many alcoholic products as possible,” Dr Lalor warned.

“Alcohol causes significant harm across Australia, including more than 4,000 alcohol-related deaths each year,” Dr Lalor explained.

For more information about the new alcohol guidelines, people can visit: https://adf.org.au/reducing-risk/alcohol/alcohol-guidelines/

People can also visit https://adf.org.au/ for information about what is a standard drink and tips to reduce consumption.

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit https://adf.org.au/or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

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For interviews and other 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 welcomes additional funding from the Tasmanian Government for the Good Sports Program, Australia’s largest preventative health initiative in community sport.

The funding of $400,000 over 12 months, will support local sporting clubs across the state to build and maintain healthy and inclusive environments, through initiatives around alcohol management, illegal drugs and mental health.

“Further funding from the Tasmanian Government means more sporting communities in Tasmania will benefit from the Good Sports program, which encourages systematic changes in club culture to promote long-term positive health outcomes,” said Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“After what’s been a really challenging year, community sporting clubs can play a really proactive role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their members, including helping to prevent and reduce harms from alcohol and other drugs,” Dr Lalor added.

Good Sports is federally funded by the Australian Government and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. Nearly 10,000 community sports clubs across Australia are part of the program, including around 500 Tasmanian clubs.

Good Sports is proven to reduce risky drinking at participating clubs by 37% and has seen a reduction of alcohol-related accidents among Good Sports club members and supporters by 42%. Studies have also found that Good Sports has contributed to supporting positive and inclusive community sporting environments.

“Community sporting clubs across Tasmania have the opportunity to join Good Sports. Our staff are committed to guiding clubs through the free program, making it easier for already busy volunteers to implement,” Dr Lalor added.

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

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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 NSW Parliament to amend flaws in new alcohol laws, which can make it easy for children to purchase alcohol online.

This week, the NSW Legislative Council is set to debate the Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020, which does not include age verification requirements for online alcohol transactions. The legislation also fails to specify ID checks at the point of delivery for all alcohol deliveries, only same day deliveries.

“It is particularly risky for young people to drink alcohol because their brains are still developing. This is why it’s so important that we work harder to prevent or delay young people from purchasing and consuming alcohol,” explained Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“Alcohol contributes to all of the leading causes of death for young Aussies, including suicide, car crashes, accidental poisoning and assault. Youth drinking is also connected to earlier and more harmful patterns of alcohol consumption,” Dr Lalor added.

Whilst the Bill outlines that it is an offence for same day delivery services to supply alcohol to a person who is intoxicated, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is calling for this offence to apply to all alcohol deliveries, not just same day deliveries.

The Foundation is also urging NSW Parliamentarians to reduce the times in which alcohol can be delivered across the state. The legislation allows alcohol deliveries from 5am to midnight every day except Sunday, which has a cut off time at 11pm.

“Reducing the access and availability of alcohol is an effective way to decrease consumption and associated harms such as accidents, injuries and hospitalisations,” Dr Lalor said.

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit https://adf.org.au/or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support 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

Australia’s Annual Overdose Report highlights the need for stronger drug harm prevention and minimisation initiatives across the country.

Released by Penington Institute on International Overdose Awareness Day (31st August), the findings include:

  • There were 2,070 drug induced deaths in Australia in 2018
  • The number of unintentional drug-induced deaths has increased significantly over the past 15 years with 1,556 unintentional drug-induced deaths in 2018.
  • While deaths involving pharmaceutical opioids have constituted the majority of unintentional deaths due to opioids since 2004, there has been a dramatic rise in deaths involving heroin since 2012, resulting in heroin deaths overtaking those involving pharmaceutical opioids in 2018.
  • Since 2011, the rate of unintentional drug-induced deaths in regional parts of Australia has surpassed the rate seen in capital cities.
  • Males were almost three times as likely as females to experience an unintentional drug-induced death in 2018, accounting for 71.5% of deaths.
  • Opioids were the drug group most commonly identified in unintentional drug-induced deaths in 2018 (involved in 900 deaths), followed by benzodiazepines (involved in 648 deaths), pharmaceutical opioids (involved in 457 deaths) and stimulants (involved in 442 deaths). Poly-drug use underlies many of these deaths.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor, said International Overdose Awareness Day was a time to reflect on lives lost from preventable overdoses.

“Our thoughts are with those who have passed through overdose and their loved ones who have experienced enduring grief,” Dr Erin Lalor said.

“It’s both heartbreaking and concerning to see the high number of preventable fatal overdoses continue in Australia, including pharmaceutical-related deaths,” Dr Lalor added.

The Annual Overdose Report highlights the need for stronger drug harm prevention and minimisation initiatives across the country, including better access to naloxone and associated training, the roll out of uniform real time prescription monitoring systems across all jurisdictions and stronger education around the risks associated with drug use, including prescription medication.

“The consumption of any drug comes with risk. Mixing drugs, including alcohol or pharmaceuticals, is particularly dangerous and can heighten a person’s risk of injuries, overdose, dependence and death,” Dr Lalor emphasised.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is also calling for Covid-related changes in access to alcohol and other drugs services to be made permanent. This includes strengthened Telehealth services and the removal of some barriers to pharmacotherapy.

“These changes have the potential to significantly improve the lives of people who use drugs and reduce perceived stigma associated with accessing services. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has joined a coalition of Australian alcohol and other drug services calling on governments to make these changes permanent,” Dr Lalor said.

“The Annual Overdose Report is also timely reminder of the stigma and discrimination people who use drugs face. Stigma can stop people seeking help and support, which can negatively impact their health, wellbeing, employment and social outcomes. It’s important that people feel no shame in seeking information or help in relation to drugs,” Dr Lalor remarked.

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.

Nearly one in five Australians wish they had drunk less alcohol during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to new survey data out today from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

The survey of 1,000 Australians aged 18-65 also found a similar number, nearly 20 per cent, want to reduce the amount of alcohol they’ve been consuming recently.

The release of the data comes as the Alcohol and Drug Foundation launches a new national health campaign – Break the Habit revealing that it takes on average only around 66 days to form a habit – roughly the same amount of time many Australians spent in lockdown.

It’s a fact that most Aussies are unaware of, with the poll data showing that fewer than 10 per cent of Australians were able to accurately estimate how long on average it takes to form a new habit.

Habit formation expert from the University of Melbourne, Professor Terry Bowles, said many of us may have picked up or formed new habits over the last few months without even realising it.

“The COVID-19 experience will have taught people different things, but for almost all of us, it has shown than we can quickly change our daily routines.”

“Routine behaviours which can have a profound impact on our lives do not take a long time to form. So, as restrictions are gradually lifted across Australia and we emerge from months of isolation, we have passed the threshold of time required to establish new habits.

“That means the things we have been doing during isolation that we maybe didn't do before, such as increased levels of exercise or an earlier bedtime, will be easy to keep doing. Similarly, if we started or expanded on unhelpful or unhealthy behaviours in isolation, such as increased alcohol consumption, we may find it hard to revert back to pre-isolation levels.”

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s new data shows that while 20 per cent of Australians consumed less alcohol during the lockdown, a concerning number increased the amount they were drinking.

At least 12 per cent of people drank every day during lockdown, and 1 in 10 said that, on average, they drank more than the recommended National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) draft guidelines to reduce the risks from drinking alcohol, consuming more than 10 standard drinks per week. This increases the risk of alcohol-related injury and diseases like cancer.

The Foundation’s Break the Habit campaign highlights that even small increases to the amount of alcohol you drink can become harder to shift over time.

The campaign video features a ‘creature’ representing the little habit of drinking more than usual that some Australians picked up during lockdown. The campaign encourages people to consider their recent drinking patterns, help them recognise any problem signs and what to do to turn them around.

Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, welcomed the new campaign, which is funded by the Australian Government.

“The Break the Habit campaign has an important message in encouraging Australians to reflect on changes to their lifestyles in recent months, particularly around increased alcohol consumption,” Mr Hunt said.

“It’s more important than ever that we prioritise our health and wellbeing. The less alcohol people consume, the lower the risk of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, dependence and chronic illness, such as cancer. Less alcohol can also help people feel less stressed or anxious, sleep better, lose weight, improve relationships and save money.”

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor said that given how tough this year has been, it’s not surprising people have looked for different ways to cope, including increasing their alcohol consumption.

“The last few months have been incredibly hard for everyone, particularly for those who have lost work, social connectedness and especially for those who have lost loved ones. We’ve all been trying our best under challenging, never-before-seen circumstances,” Dr Erin Lalor said.

“Enough time has passed for behaviours picked up in lockdown to become entrenched. Now is the time for Australians to reflect on their recent drinking, so that little habits developed over the past couple of months, don’t turn into a big problem in the future.

“The longer a habit is left to form, the harder it can become to change.

“If you want to reduce the amount of alcohol you’ve been drinking recently, you are not alone. Our new data shows overall, around one in five of us want to cut back.

“Half of the people who told us they drank more during this time said they want to reduce how much they’re drinking.

“The good news is there’s lots of practical support available right now on how to change behaviour. Even small steps such as introducing alcohol free days into your week, or having one less drink a day, can have a powerful impact.”

To find out how your drinking measures up, try out the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s quick and interactive Drinking Calculator.

For more information on the Break the Habit campaign, including advice on how to change behaviour and where to get support, visit https://www.littlehabit.com.au/.

One family's experience

Mum of three Casey, from Langwarrin (VIC), picked up a new habit during Victoria’s first lockdown. “I normally only have a glass of wine on the weekend, but when the first lockdown started, I noticed I started pouring a glass of wine with dinner on weekdays. I told myself at first that it was a “reward” for getting through home-schooling three children aged under 10. Before I knew it, I was “rewarding” myself almost every evening. It was always just one glass, but it all adds up.

“One Wednesday evening, I went to pour my evening drink but there was no wine in the house. It was then I realised how much more alcohol I’d been going through than normal. Since then I’ve made a conscious decision to go back to my usual routine of only having a drink on the weekends. Immediately my sleep improved and ironically I now have more energy to tackle home-schooling which was stressing me out in the first place.”

A full written case study of Casey’s lockdown experience is available here, including video content and imagery.

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NOTES TO MEDIA

Media inquiries

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

Please note a comprehensive media backgrounder on the Break the Habit campaign is available here.

Assets for media

All assets available here.

  • Image: Dr Erin Lalor, CEO, Alcohol and Drug Foundation – here (quoted in media release)
  • Video interview (+ transcript): Dr Erin Lalor, CEO, Alcohol and Drug Foundation – here
  • Image: Professor Terry Bowles, University of Melbourne – here (quoted in media release)
  • Video interview (+ transcript): Professor Terry Bowles, University of Melbourne – here
  • Content: 800 word case study on Casey and family – here
  • Images: Casey and family, case study – here (quoted in media release)
  • Video: Case study with Casey and family – 90 seconds here
  • Video: Case study with Casey and family – 30 seconds here
  • Video: Case study (+ transcript) with no backing music – here
  • Video: Case study B roll – here
  • Video: Full length Break the Habit campaign TVC – here
  • Video: Stills from Break the Habit campaign TVC – here

Campaign assets

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation applauds today’s decision by Australian and New Zealand Ministers to introduce clearer pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic products, saying it will play an important role in protecting the health of unborn babies.

The decision by the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) will see mandatory labels on alcoholic products which include a red, black and white pictogram with the message “PREGNANCY WARNING: Alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby”.

“The decision to adopt clear and noticeable pregnancy warning labels will help raise awareness of the serious risks associated with drinking while trying to conceive or during pregnancy,” said Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor.

“Too many Australians are unaware that drinking alcohol during pregnancy, or while trying to conceive, risks adverse outcomes such as miscarriages, still births, low birth weight and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).”

"The use of the colour red - widely associated with hazard - on a white background is key to making the warning message prominent and sending a strong health message to the community.”

“We have a responsibility to protect babies from alcohol-related harms. All Australians have the right to know if a product is going to cause harm to their unborn child.”

The evidence-based warning label was developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) who confirmed that the cost of implementing the labels will be reasonable for producers. The labels will be implemented over a three year transitionary period.

Dr Lalor said it is crucial Australians are aware that not drinking alcohol is the safest option during pregnancy as there are several risks associated with consuming alcohol while pregnant or trying to fall pregnant.

“People affected by fetal alcohol exposure are at risk of life-long brain damage which may result in learning difficulties, mental illness, chronic offending behaviour and subsequent incarceration, and often require lifelong support,” Dr Lalor added.

For free and confidential 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 non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support 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 Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation welcomes today’s announcement that the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre trial in North Richmond will be extended for three years and a second site established in the City of Melbourne.

The independent review of the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond reported that since the facility opened in 2018, there has been:

  • 4,350 clients registering with the service
  • Over 119,000 visits and at least 21 lives saved
  • More than 3,200 overdoses safely managed
  • Over 13,000 health and social support interventions for issues like family violence and mental health
  • Decreases in reports of public injecting in the North Richmond area
  • Reduced ambulance call outs

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor, said the trial extension would help save more lives and provide pathways to treatment and other health services.

“The  North Richmond facility is saving lives and providing clients access to important health and support services such as mental health services, treatment and housing services,” Dr Lalor said.

“The number of clients registering and accessing the facility demonstrates the need for an additional site. It is the busiest supervised injecting centre in Australia,” Dr Lalor said.

Dr Lalor said she hoped the announcement of $9 million to upgrade the North Richmond area would help reduce stigma attached to the centre.

For free and confidential 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 non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

For further information, please find the below Alcohol and Drug Foundation resources:

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has today unveiled new data that shows increased video catch ups with friends as a catalyst for Australian parents drinking more alcohol during the COVID-19 lockdown.

One in five (19%) parents who have upped their alcohol consumption during isolation cited extra video socialising as a factor in their increased alcohol intake. Of those, parents aged 18-34 were far more likely (31%) to say extra video socialising prompted them to drink more.

The data has led to today’s launch of a reflective new video campaign showing children imitating the behaviour of some parents during online iso-video chats. Alcohol dominates the kids’ conversation, with one innocently claiming he’s been “sucking the guts out of a few cold ones”, another boasting “oh yeah, got myself a slab”.

The video is part of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s You haven’t been drinking alone’ community health initiative which has been developed to encourage parents of school-aged children to consider how their drinking may have changed during lockdown, the impact it may be having on their health and how they may be inadvertently influencing their children’s attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol.

“The past couple of months have been really stressful for parents and video catch ups have become a key way for people to connect with friends and families,” said Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“While video catch ups have played an important role in addressing social isolation, a by-product has been bringing the pub into many Australian homes, with kids listening or watching.

As social distancing measures continue to ease, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is encouraging parents to be mindful of how they have been drinking during isolation and the role it can play in shaping their children’s attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol.

“There is a compelling body of evidence highlighting how parental behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol play one of the strongest roles in influencing children’s future behaviour towards alcohol. This is not something to be taken lightly.”

“We don’t want children learning to think alcohol is a healthy lifestyle choice or to view alcohol as a coping mechanism for feelings of stress, anxiety or boredom.”

“Parents can role model lower-risk behaviours around alcohol by drinking no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks on any day. We also encourage parents to show their kids that they don’t always need alcohol to relax, have fun, as a reward, or in every social situation,” Dr Lalor added.

The launch of today’s new video campaign comes off the back of a YouGov poll conducted by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation in mid-May, which revealed more than one in four (29%) parents of school-aged students have increased their alcohol intake since the outbreak of coronavirus, with 20% consuming alcohol in front of their children daily or every other day.

For further information on the ‘You haven’t been drinking alone’ campaign, visit https://adf.org.au.

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Media Release PDF

Notes to media: The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. For further information about alcohol use and ways to reduce related harms during COVID-19, please visit https://adf.org.au/covid-19/.

For free and confidential drug information or support, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation encourages people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

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

Parents drinking more in isolation but they haven’t been drinking alone

New data released today by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation shows Australian parents have been consuming more alcohol, more frequently, during the coronavirus lockdown, with almost one in six (14%) saying they’ve been drinking every day.

Since the start of lockdown, more than one in four (29%) parents have increased their alcohol intake, with millennial parents the most likely to be drinking more (35%), followed by Gen X parents (28%), then baby boomers (16%).

Parents of 9-12 year olds were found to be drinking the most, with one in 10 saying they were drinking “a lot more” following the introduction of coronavirus restrictions.

Impressionable 9-12 years olds were the most exposed to drinking, with almost a quarter of parents of this age group (23%) saying they have been consuming alcohol in front of their children daily or every other day during lockdown.

Pressures resulting from lockdown have been a considerable factor for increasing alcohol consumption. Almost two-fifths (38%) of Australian parents reported heightened levels of stress and anxiety as the reason for their increased alcohol intake, with one in four parents specifically pinpointing the challenges of home- schooling.

The data, based on a national poll of over 1,000 parents, has been released to support a new community health initiative: ‘You haven’t been drinking alone’, launched today by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

It aims to encourage parents to consider how their drinking may have changed during lockdown, the implications it may be having on their own health and, importantly, how it may be influencing their children’s attitudes and behaviours.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said: “Coronavirus has had a significant impact on our whole community but especially for parents, with many having to balance changes to their work life, increasing uncertainty and the challenges of home schooling.

“It’s really concerning that more than one quarter of Australian parents have increased their alcohol consumption since the reality of COVID-19 hit.

“Parents may have been drinking in isolation, but they haven’t been drinking alone. Since the start of lockdown, some children have seen their parents’ occasional alcoholic drink turn into a daily ritual. Others have played in the background of their parents Zoom calls which can act as virtual pub tables.

“While many parents have been using alcohol as a coping mechanism, it is important to understand that exposure to regular or excessive drinking can influence children’s attitudes and future behaviours around alcohol, alongside increasing the parent’s risk of accidents, injuries, dependence and diseases like cancer.

“Our survey of parents across Australia suggests one of the primary reasons for increased alcohol consumption during coronavirus is heightened feelings of anxiety or stress. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol because it can make these feelings worse. It’s also essential that children don’t learn to view alcohol as a coping mechanism or to think drinking alcohol is a healthy lifestyle choice.

“There is a strong body of evidence that demonstrates parental behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol and other drugs are the most important influencers in guiding children’s future behaviour and decisions.

“To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related injury or disease such as cancer, the draft national guidelines recommend people consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks on any day.

“The good news is, just as adults can easily form and pass on unhealthy behaviours, they can just as easily do the opposite.

“As the restrictions of coronavirus begin to ease, parents can quickly re-establish themselves as positive role models,” said Dr Lalor.

ENDS

Media Release PDF

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. For further information about alcohol use and ways to reduce related harms during COVID-19, please click here.

For free and confidential drug information or support, ADF encourages people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

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 reiterating its calls for all Australian jurisdictions to follow the lead of the Northern Territory Government and introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol.

An independent report released today shows that the implementation of a minimum unit price on alcohol in the Territory has been associated with significant reductions in alcohol-related assaults, ambulance attendances, emergency department presentations, road crashes and child protection notifications.

“This responsible legislation has complemented other harm reduction initiatives in the Northern Territory and is helping to build a healthier and safer community,” said Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“The legislation, alongside other measures, is doing what it intended, which is to reduce harmful alcohol consumption,” Dr Lalor added.

Since a minimum unit price on alcohol was introduced in the Northern Territory in October 2018, a standard alcoholic drink cannot be legally sold for under $1.30.

“The Northern Territory Government has shown leadership in recognising the strong link between price, alcohol consumption and related harms such as accidents, injuries, violence and ill-health,” Dr Lalor said.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging all states and territories to introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol to address key priorities identified in the new National Alcohol Strategy.

"Implementing a range of evidence-based measures, including a minimum unit price on alcohol, would make a big difference in reducing harmful alcohol consumption and improving the health and safety of Australians,” Dr Lalor said.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

As strict social distancing rules continue in many states and territories, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging Australians to keep connected with loved ones, to help boost mood, alleviate stress or boredom and reduce the risk of problematic alcohol consumption.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM said, whilst she acknowledges the need for prolonged social distancing measures, some people may experience heightened feelings of isolation, anxiousness or boredom, which are all risk factors for increased alcohol use.

“It’s really tough at the moment and we know that in times of crisis, alcohol consumption increases. This is concerning, as it can lead to short and long-term negative health outcomes such as dependence, accidents, injuries and illnesses such as cancer,” Dr Lalor explained.

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, people have been using alcohol as a coping mechanism. If you are feeling sad, lonely, stressed or anxious, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol, as it can make these feelings worse.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation really encourages people to maintain or strengthen their connections with loved ones in times of hardship, as it means they can vent, share experiences, receive or give support, take their mind off the situation, or have a few laughs,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website lists simple and innovative ways people can connect with friends and family, even if it can’t be in person. They include:

*Make your catch-ups virtual: schedule a virtual dinner date, have a distance movie night, enjoy after work mocktails

*Try a new activity together: take up a new hobby or skill with a loved one and attempt an online tutorial together, sign up to an online fitness class with a friend, do your ‘meaning to get to it’ thing and share progress pictures with mates

*Get competitive (or co-operative): Challenge a friend or family member to a classic game like Chess, Dominoes or Scrabble (online versions are available), or try some of the latest videogames together

*Without internet access? Set regular times to talk with loved ones, try playing games over the phone (such as 20 questions of 6 degrees of separation) or try asking new questions, as it can be surprising the things we may never usually get the chance to learn about our friends and family

“Staying connected with others and using healthy coping mechanisms is critical to maintaining good health and wellbeing, which is particularly important at this time,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“Whist some interactions might seem a little strange at first, they should help people relax or take their mind off Covid-19, at least for a little while.

“We also encourage people who are feeling stressed, anxious or down, to try tactics such as listening to music, exercising or reading. If you still aren’t feeling yourself, connect with a health professional. Don’t wait for the pandemic to pass to reach out for support. There is lots of help available,” Dr Lalor added.

For free and confidential drug information or support visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

For further information about alcohol use and ways to prevent or reduce related harms during Covid-19 visit https://adf.org.au/covid-19/

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has commended the Australian Government’s $6 million funding announcement for drug and alcohol-related services during Covid-19, saying it will play a key role in preventing and reducing harms such as accidents, violence and dependence.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor AM welcomed the funding, which includes $2 million to support the Alcohol and Drug Foundation roll out initiatives to improve health and wellbeing during isolation.

“It’s really tough at the moment and we know that in times of crisis some people turn to alcohol and other drugs as a coping mechanism,” Dr Lalor said.

“What we don’t want to see on top of current challenges is an increase in alcohol and drug use leading to an increase in dependence and other harms, such as violence, accidents or injuries.

“The new funding will support important efforts to increase awareness of the risks associated with alcohol consumption during isolation, help people understand the signs they may be developing problems with alcohol and steps to reduce intake,” Dr Lalor added.

The awareness campaign will provide information, help and support relating to alcohol and other drugs and improve people’s knowledge of where to get help. It will also assist with the launch of an online initiative for communities to connect and develop health promotion activities to prevent alcohol and drug harms during isolation.

“Feeling isolated is a risk factor for increased alcohol and other drug use. It’s really important at this time that people strengthen their connections with others,” Dr Lalor explained.

“We want to help and encourage community members as much as we can to stay connected with family, friends and others around them, even if it can’t be face to face at the moment,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.  For further information about alcohol use and ways to reduce related harms during COVID-19, please visit https://adf.org.au/covid-19/

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84.  The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

NEW DATA SHOWS IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HOUSEHOLD ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging Australians to be mindful of their alcohol consumption, as new national data reveals the impacts COVID-19 is having on people’s alcohol intake.

Results from a YouGov Galaxy poll, commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), shows 20 per cent of households reported buying more alcohol than they normally would.

In these households:

-70% reported drinking more alcohol than usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic

-More than a third (34 per cent) said they are now consuming alcohol every day

-32% reported they are concerned about how much alcohol they are drinking, or someone else in their household is consuming

-Over a quarter (28%) said they were drinking alcohol to cope with anxiety and stress

-20 per cent report having started drinking alcohol earlier in the day

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM said the poll results were concerning.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation acknowledges that this is an extremely challenging time. What we don’t want to see on top of current challenges though, is an increase in alcohol-related harms,” Dr Lalor said.

“We are urging Australians to prioritize their health and wellbeing at this time, including taking steps to reduce alcohol-related harms. There are no health benefits of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can make feelings of stress and anxiety worse, weakens the immune system and heightens the risk of accidents, injuries and illness,” Dr Lalor explained.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s advice for people consuming alcohol includes:

-Stick to the Draft National Guidelines, which recommend no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any day to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.

-Avoid using alcohol as a coping mechanism if you are feeling stressed or anxious. Try alternative activities such as listening to music, exercising, reading or connecting with loved ones. If you don’t feel better, reach out to a health professional for some advice.

-Model responsible drinking around children, including limiting consumption and avoiding intoxication.

-Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs such as pharmaceuticals or illicit substances

-Call 000 in an emergency

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. For further information about alcohol use and ways to reduce related harms during COVID-19, please visit https://adf.org.au/covid-19/

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is deeply concerned by the latest Commonwealth Bank figures, showing further increases in alcohol sales amid the Coronavirus crisis.

CommSec data released on Tuesday 31st March, shows alcohol sales rose again over the past week, with a 34% increase compared to the same period a year ago. Whilst spending on alcohol services, such as pubs fell by 49%, spending on alcoholic products at outlets such as bottle shops, skyrocketed by 86% compared to the same week as last year.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, urged Australians to prioritize their health and wellbeing during this difficult time, including taking steps to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms such as dependence, accidents and injuries.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation acknowledges the stress and anxieties people are feeling at the moment," Dr lalor explained.

"We are worried that as alcohol sales continue to rise, so will excessive drinking and related harms such as violence, accidents, injuries and dependence."

“It’s particularly important at the moment that people maintain their physical and mental health. People need to understand that there are no health benefits of alcohol, in fact, consuming alcohol can weaken your immune system, disrupt your sleep and make feelings of stress and anxiety worse,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s advice for people consuming alcohol includes:

  • Stick to the national guidelines. The National Health and Medical Research Centre recommends drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion to avoid injury or illness, and no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of alcohol-related injury and disease such as cancer.
  • Avoid using alcohol as a mechanism to relieve stress and/or anxiety, as alcohol can heighten these feelings. Try alternative tactics such as listening to music, exercising, reading and connecting with loved ones. If you are still feeling stressed or anxious, seek advice from a health professional.
  • Model responsible drinking around children, including limiting consumption and avoiding intoxication.
  • Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including medications.
  • If you are consuming alcohol, the safest option is to avoid getting behind the wheel. Alcohol can significantly impact on a person’s driving because it can cause drowsiness, impaired vision, and reduced concentration and reaction times. It can also lead to overconfidence and risk taking behaviour.

Dr Lalor said that she was also worried that The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has reported a 'concerning’ number of alcohol-related hospitalisations during the Coronavirus pandemic. RACS said preventable drink driving cases have contributed to a recent spike in trauma-presentations.

“A reduction in alcohol-related accidents and injuries is a key step in taking pressure off hospital resources needed for coronavirus presentations,” Dr Lalor said.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84.  The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging Australians to avoid drink driving, amid reports of a 'concerning’ number of alcohol-related hospitalisations during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) says preventable drink driving cases have contributed to a recent spike in trauma-presentations.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, backed calls by The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to look out for each other and avoid risky behaviours such as driving under the influence of alcohol.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging people to take steps to maintain their physical and mental health during this uncertain time, including reducing the risk of alcohol-related harms,” Dr Lalor explained.

“If you are consuming alcohol, the safest option is to avoid getting behind the wheel. Alcohol can significantly impact on a person’s driving because it can cause drowsiness, impaired vision, and reduced concentration and reaction times. It can also lead to overconfidence and risk taking.”

“A reduction in alcohol related accidents will also take pressure off hospital resources needed for coronavirus presentations,” Dr Lalor added.

Other tips to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms include:

-Stick to the national guidelines. The National Health and Medical Research Centre recommends drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion to avoid injury or illness, and no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of alcohol-related injury and disease such as cancer.

-Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including medications.

-Avoid using alcohol as a mechanism to relieve stress and/or anxiety, as alcohol can heighten these feelings. Try alternative tactics such as listening to music, exercising, reading and connecting with loved ones. If you are still feeling stressed or anxious, seek advice from a health professional.

-Model responsible drinking around children, including limiting consumption, avoiding intoxication, not drinking and driving, and showing you can deal with stress in healthier ways.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is concerned by the surge in alcohol sales amid the coronavirus pandemic, fearing it may lead to increased domestic violence, accidents and injuries.

Commonwealth Bank data shows alcohol sales have risen by 20.4% compared to this time last year, confirming reports of people stockpiling and panic buying alcoholic products.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said she is worried there will be increases in the number of people consuming alcohol in their homes as a coping mechanism in this uncertain time.

“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation acknowledges the strain being placed on individuals and families, as the impact of coronavirus unfolds,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“It’s important that people take steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s advice includes:

*Avoid using alcohol as a mechanism to relieve stress and/or anxiety, as alcohol can heighten these feelings. Try alternative tactics such as listening to music, exercising, reading and connecting with loved ones. If you are still feeling stressed or anxious, seek advice from a health professional.

*Model responsible drinking around children, including limiting consumption, avoiding intoxication, not drinking and driving, and showing you can deal with stress in healthier ways.

*Stick to the national guidelines. The National Health and Medical Research Centre recommends drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion to avoid injury or illness, and no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of alcohol-related injury and disease such as cancer.

*Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including medications.

“We are urging people to be mindful not to encourage the normalisation of alcohol consumption, especially around children,” Dr Lalor said.

“There are no health benefits of alcohol. Consumption can lead to accidents, injuries and other serious health impacts such as dependence, liver damage and cancer,” Dr Lalor said.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is strongly committed to supporting all Australians with quality information to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

For free and confidential drug information or support, we encourage people to visit www.adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84.  The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is concerned lobbying by the alcohol industry has hindered efforts to introduce clearer pregnancy warning labels, aimed at protecting the health of unborn babies.

Late last week, food and health ministers requested a review of the labels, proposed by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. The labels include a pictogram and/or the message ‘HEALTH WARNING: alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby’ in red and black text.

The disappointing review request comes after the alcohol industry launched a campaign against the proposed new labels, which are clearer than the existing labels.

“The alcohol industry is out to make a profit, so strong health warnings on their products are a real threat to them,” Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said.

“Currently pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic products can easily be missed as  they might be too small or the colours don’t stand out enough.”

“We have a responsibility to protect babies from alcohol-related harms. All Australians have the right to know if a product is going to cause harm to their unborn child,” Dr Lalor remarked.

Dr Lalor said it is crucial Australians are aware that abstinence from alcohol is the safest option during pregnancy and that there are a number of risks associated with consuming alcohol while pregnant or trying to fall pregnant.

“Unfortunately, too many Australians don’t know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy or while trying to conceive, risks adverse outcomes such as miscarriages, still births, low birth weight and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD),” Dr Lalor explained.

“People who are affected by fetal alcohol exposure are at risk of life-long brain damage which may result in learning difficulties, mental illness, chronic offending behaviour and subsequent incarceration, and often require lifelong support.”

Dr Lalor added that the alcohol industry should be called out on any attempts to use Coronavirus as a cover to delay much needed public health protections.

For free and confidential 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 non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

The Power of Words: There’s power in the language we use to talk about alcohol and other drugs, and people who use alcohol and other drugs. Stigmatising language can negatively impact on a person’s health, wellbeing and relationships. Using person-centric language, instead of focusing on an individual’s substance use, has the power to reduce stigma and improve health and social outcomes. For a guide to using non-stigmatising language, please see the Power of Words or the Mindframe Guidelines.