Media archive

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.

Please call 03 9611 6104/ 0430 948 380 or email media@adf.org.au

Australia’s leading organisation for preventing alcohol and other drug harm, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF), has welcomed today’s release of the 10-year Preventive Health Strategy, and urges the Australian Government to invest appropriately to ensure communities are able to take preventive action at the local level.

“The Strategy provides a solid foundation for a healthier Australia and has the potential to drive a major shift in how community and the system work together to enhance health and wellbeing - rather than applying a band aid when it’s too late,” said ADF CEO Dr Erin Lalor AM.

“But, it needs a serious, ongoing, investment to ensure its goals are achieved.”

Reducing alcohol and other drug harm is one of the seven focus areas identified in the new Strategy.

Alcohol is Australia’s most prevalent drug and causes significant harm in the Australian community.

Of the 16 million Australian adults who drink alcohol, 4.7 million are drinking at harmful or hazardous levels, and 1.9 million would be classified as alcohol-dependent.

“The numbers are going in the wrong direction,” Dr Lalor warned, noting: “now, more than ever, action to prevent and minimise alcohol and drug-related harm is required.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of people drinking alcohol between 2020 and 2021 on the back of COVID-19, along with an increase in the number of alcohol-related deaths.”

Illicit drug use has also changed in the previous 12 months.

A recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report highlights the strong link between alcohol and other drug use and mental health, pinpointing alcohol and other drug use as two of the four leading modifiable risk factors in Australia today for suicide and intentional self-harm.

“There’s solid evidence now that early prevention approaches such as drug education in schools, increasing social supports and counselling, can turn lives around,” Dr Lalor said. “So, it’s really encouraging to see the policy recommendations called out in the Strategy today.”

In particular, Dr Lalor welcomes the inclusion of recommendations to boost community-based prevention and ensure grassroots campaigns are based on local needs; increase awareness of the National Drinking Guidelines; delay the age of starting to use alcohol and other drugs; reduce exposure to alcohol marketing and promotion (especially for young people) and increase access to screening initiatives.

“The ADF’s approach dovetails with the Preventive Health Strategy’s recommendations and we will work with the Government to help meet its evidence-based outcomes.

“However, it is really critical that appropriate funding is invested to ensure we can achieve the vision of the Strategy.

“Australia’s new Preventive Health Strategy is a step in the right direction,” Dr Lalor said. “We look forward to the strategy becoming a reality.”

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

With New South Wales and Victoria out of lockdown, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is encouraging people to enjoy long-awaited celebrations after a year of tough restrictions with a little caution.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Office, Dr Erin Lalor, shares a few practical tips that will help people keep track of how much they’re drinking while still enjoying the quality time with friends and family we’ve all been waiting for.

“2021 has been really tough and now that restrictions are easing, we want to help people who have been hanging out to celebrate to do so safely,” said Dr Lalor.

“If you’re planning to make up for lost time with a few drinks, understanding the national drinking guidelines is an easy way of staying on top of how much ‘a few’ drinks actually look like.

“It’s also a good idea to make sure to eat before and during, choose low alcohol drinks, alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks and decide before going out how many drinks you’ll have - and stick to it,” she added.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provides clear guidelines to help keep an eye on how many standard drinks you’re consuming and staying within recommended drinking limits.

To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, stick to no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

Yet research from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation showed that more than half of people polled recently weren’t sure or only have some idea of the recommended alcohol they should be consuming per day or week.

As people reward themselves for the hard work they’ve put in to keep their communities safe from COVID-19, the Foundation hopes that by familiarising ourselves with the guidelines, incidents involving alcohol can be prevented.

“Between 2019 and 2020, there were over 74,500 alcohol-related hospitalisations in Australia – all of which were preventable,” said Dr Lalor.

“Following the NHMRC guidelines and keeping a few safe drinking practices in mind can help avoid preventable hospitalisations and alcohol-related incidents skyrocketing in NSW and VIC as we say goodbye to strict restrictions in 2021.”

On top of the NHMRC guidelines, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s top tips for people planning on catching up over a few drinks post-lockdown include:

  1. Don’t drive or swim. If you’re drinking alcohol, the safest option is not to swim or drive. If you’re heading out, assign a designated driver or pre-organise alternative transport home, such as a rideshare or taxi.
  2. Set a drinking limit and stick to it. Avoid drinking in rounds and letting others top up your glass - you may lose track of how many drinks you’ve had.
  3. Keep hydrated and out of the sun. Drink water or other non-alcoholic drinks between alcoholic beverages. If you’re drinking alcohol in the daytime, remember to use lots of sunscreen and keep in the shade, as drinking can increase your risk of sunburn.
  4. Don’t consume alcohol on an empty stomach. Eat food before and while drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol in your body.
  5. Get up and move. Keep yourself (and your hands) busy to help reduce the amount of alcohol you’re consuming, for example: play charades, throw a frisbee or play pool.

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

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.

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

With Dry July drawing to a close and thousands of Aussies getting set to break the month long drought, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging people to take it easy and understand the impact alcohol can have on the body – especially after a month off.

It’s tempting to celebrate the end of Dry July by getting back on the beers. Struggling Aussies going through new lockdowns might feel its time to abandon the alcohol-free month along with healthy drinking habits completely as a way to cope.

But a sudden return to drinking habits could have harmful effects on your health, pocket, relationships and mental wellbeing, particularly in stressful and sometimes isolating situations like a COVID lockdown.

New alcohol guidelines released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are clear – drinking at any level contains some risk.

Yet, one in five Australians are ignorant of the harms caused by drinking alcohol, according to research conducted by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said alcohol tolerance can vary from person to person and reintroducing alcohol after a month off could lead to a bad time.

“Some people, especially if they were longer-term, consistent drinkers, may find their drinking tolerance drops after Dry July and the alcohol will hit them harder than it used to, increasing their risk of harm or injury,” Dr Lalor said.

“If people start to drink again after a month off, we always urge caution. Make sure to eat before and during, choose low alcohol drinks, alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks and decide before going out how many drinks you’ll have - and stick to it.”

Even though Dry July is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean going back to old habits. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation encourages people to keep up the good work by being familiar with the size of a standard drink and the new NHMRC drinking guidelines.

To reduce your risk of cancer including breast, stomach and bowel, keep it to 10 or less standard drinks a week. Have no more than four standard drinks in one day to reduce your risk of injury and accidents.

“Using a period like Dry July as a reset button on your drinking habits is a great way to understand the effects of your drinking and really start to feel the benefits of drinking less,” said Dr Lalor.

Dr Lalor said people could use the end of Dry July to reflect on the positive changes they’ve seen over the month – big and small - and use these as motivation to continue to drink less.  The new drinking guidelines can also help you stay on track.

“Continue reaping the benefits of reducing the number of drinks you have. Whether you have more energy, you’ve got a bit of extra cash in your wallet or you’ve recovered extra weekend mornings that you didn’t have previously,” she encouraged.

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 your drinking.

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.

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

One in five Australians are ignorant of the harms caused by drinking alcohol, according to new research conducted by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

And young Australians are of particular concern as they are not making a link between alcohol and illness or physical harm.

Key findings of the research, conducted earlier this month, also include:

  • More than half of Australians polled don’t know what a standard drink is
  • More than half polled are not sure or only have some idea of the recommended alcohol they should be consuming per day/week

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said it was disturbing that over 20 per cent of Australians DID NOT associate any harm with drinking alcohol.

Dr Lalor said new alcohol guidelines released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) were clear – drinking at any level contains some risk.

The NHMRC has guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. The guidelines provide clear guidance about steps Australians can take to reduce their risk of alcohol related harm such as breast, stomach and bowel cancer, heart disease and depression and other mental health issues.

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

“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.”

Of serious concern, Dr Lalor said, was the number of young Australians not making the link between alcohol and harm.

Twenty-nine per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds, and 25 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds, did not associate alcohol with illness or injury.

With eased COVID restrictions, younger Australians polled are now drinking more than they were last year.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds are now drinking more since COVID lockdowns.

“Younger Australians are vulnerable to alcohol-related harm,” Dr Lalor said.

“Alcohol contributes to all the leading causes of death for young people; suicide, land transport accidents, accidental poisoning, and assault,” Dr Lalor said.

“Alcohol causes significant harm across Australia, including nearly 4,200 alcohol-related deaths each year.”

Built on the latest evidence, the guidelines recommend:

  • To reduce your risk of cancer including breast, stomach and bowel, keep it to 10 or less standard drinks a week. Have no more than 4 standard drinks in one day to reduce your risk of injury and accidents.
  • 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.

“Australians wanting to reduce their alcohol consumption, particularly if their drinking habits have changed since the outbreak of COVID, should be mindful or the new guidelines,” Dr Lalor added.

Dr Lalor said she was concerned, even if Australians were following the guidelines and sticking to the recommended number of drinks per week, they did not know how much alcohol a standard drink contained.

And ninety per cent were not sure at all or had only some idea of the recommended amount of alcohol they should be consuming each day an across the week.

“A standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol.” Dr Lalor said.

“The type of alcohol makes no difference; 10 grams of alcohol is 10 grams of alcohol, whether it is in beer, wine or spirits.”

A standard drink includes:

  • Full strength beer (4.9% alc/vol) 285 mL
  • Sparkling wine (13% alc/vol) 100 mL
  • Wine (13% alc/vol) 100 mL
  • Spirits e.g., vodka, gin, rum, whiskey (40% alc/vol) 30 mL

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.

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

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is encouraging Australians not to drink or take drugs and drive over the Easter break.

With border restrictions eased and many of us looking forward to a “COVID normal” holiday break, Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor AM, said she understood many Aussies would be keen to celebrate with family and friends.

“Australia is very fortunate and many of us can have a COVID normal Easter,” she said.

“It’s understandable people will want to celebrate. We want everyone to have a healthy and safe Easter break, and this includes minimising the risk of alcohol and drug-related harm caused by road accidents.”

“Many people will no doubt be celebrating the ability to once again catchup with family and friends after long periods of separation. Celebrations may be extra special this year and there are some really easy things that people can do to stay safer, healthier and reduce the risk of alcohol and other drug harm.”

Alcohol is a depressant drug. It slows the activity of the central nervous system, including the brain. This can have a huge impact on your ability to drive safely.

Even very small amounts of alcohol can affect your concentration, judgement and performance. You may feel like you are fine, but your reaction times are slower than normal, and your concentration is dulled. This is important when you need a high degree of skill and concentration, or if the safety of others is involved.

Even in low doses, drugs can significantly reduce your driving skills.

If you’ve taken cannabis, you may drive too slowly, find it difficult to stay awake, or find it hard to stay within designated lanes.

Stimulants, like amphetamines and cocaine, can lead to speeding or erratic driving as well as increased risk taking behind the wheel.

“Most people don’t know that your Blood Alcohol Content can continue to rise for up to 3 hours after your last drink,” Dr Lalor said.

“On average, the liver breaks down a little less than one standard drink per hour. Before driving, you should wait at least an hour for each standard drink you've had.”

ADF tips for safe driving this Easter break:

  • Monitor the number of standard drinks you consume each hour.
  • Keep track of how much you drink. And if you intend to drive, remember that the safest option is not to drink.
  • Some people need to drink less to keep their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.05% and drive safely..

Limit your drinking

  • Start with a non-alcoholic drink, and have a non-alcoholic drink (a ‘spacer’) every second or third drink.
  • Avoid topping up your glass. This makes it difficult to keep an accurate track of how much you've had
  • Drink low-alcohol drinks, and avoid mixed drinks like cocktails. It is difficult to tell how much alcohol they contain
  • Avoid drinking in rounds, so you don't feel pressured to keep up with your friends
  • Sip drinks, and avoid salty foods that make you thirsty

“The only way to remove alcohol from your system is to allow the body time to process it. Showers, coffee and fresh air will not reduce your blood alcohol content,” Dr Lalor said.

“If you're in doubt as to how much you've had, don't drive. Always have a backup plan prepared in advance.”

Dr Lalor warned that even taking prescription medication, whether it has been prescribed to you or not, can be dangerous if you get behind the wheel.

If you are feeling drowsy, aggressive, dizzy, nauseous, light-headed or shaky, it can be dangerous to drive as this may impair your vision and ability to concentrate.

If taking prescribed or over-the-counter medication, always:

  • read the labels carefully and obey the directions and warnings
  • ask a doctor or pharmacist if it’s likely to affect your driving
  • arrange alternative transport, if advised.

More information

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.

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 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.

ENDS 

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.

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 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 should have no more than 10 standard drinks a week drink and no more than 4 standard drinks in one day to reduce the risk of injury and 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.

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 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.

ENDS

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.

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 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.

ENDS

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.

ENDS

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.

ENDS

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 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.

ENDS

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation welcomes and supports the recommendation to decriminalise illicit drugs in New South Wales, outlined in the report into The NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’.

The report, which was released on Thursday, outlines more than 100 recommendations which are now being considered by the New South Wales Government.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM, said she was pleased that the report acknowledges the serious health and social impacts linked to the criminalisation of low-level personal drug use.

“Having a criminal record for possessing or using small amounts of illicit drugs can lead to a number of negative outcomes including incarceration, tarnished relationships, stigmatisation and restrictions on employment and travel. These outcomes can ruin or be hugely disruptive on a person’s life,” Dr Lalor explained.

She commended the report’s recommendation to implement a model of decriminalisation, in conjunction with increased resourcing for specialist drug assessment and treatment services.

“The decriminalisation of illicit drugs should be accompanied by investment in, and pathways to, early intervention support and access to evidence-based treatment for all people who need it,” Dr Lalor remarked.

Dr Lalor applauded the report for calling out the need to address and reduce the damaging stigma associated with illicit drug use.

“Stigma can make people who use, or have used illicit drugs, feel unwelcome and unsafe. This can stop them from connecting with the services they need, which can negatively impact on their health, wellbeing, employment and relationships,” Dr Lalor said.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation also welcomes the report’s recommendation to support and expand community-led initiatives aimed at responding to the local drivers of drug use.

“Communities play an important role in identifying and preventing local alcohol and other drug-related issues,” Dr Lalor noted.

“Long term investments in evidence-based community-led prevention initiatives are critical in building a healthier Australia,” Dr Lalor said.

“We encourage all governments to take an evidence-based approach when responding to alcohol and other drug-related issues in our communities,” 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.

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

Decriminalisation vs legalisation https://adf.org.au/talking-about-drugs/law/decriminalisation/

Position Paper: Drug Law Reform https://cdn.adf.org.au/media/documents/ADF_PositionPaper_druglawreform.pdf

Stigma and people who use drugs https://adf.org.au/insights/stigma-impact/

Prevention: communities are key https://adf.org.au/insights/prevention-communities-key/

Drug facts: crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ice/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release PDF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release PDF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2019 national Good Sports Award winners are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WA: Quinns Districts Netball Club

ACT: Tuggeranong Bulldogs Junior AFL Club

NSW: Newcastle Netball Association

NT: Jingili BMX Club

QLD: Emerald Brothers Cricket Club

SA: Golden Grove Football Club

TAS: Redpa Football Club

VIC: Geelong Rangers Soccer Club

ENDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get the facts:

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

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

Ask questions:

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

Talk about the harms and ways to reduce them:

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

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

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

- Abolishing the 1.30am lockout

- Allowing service after 3am

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

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

- Removing restrictions around glass in late trading periods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Release PDF

ENDS

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

ENDS

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

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 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.

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 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/

ENDS

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

ENDS

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.

ENDS

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.

ENDS

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.

Nominate now for the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is encouraging individuals, groups and communities to nominate for the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards.

The prestigious awards, which are this year being hosted by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, recognise and celebrate the achievements of the incredible people and organisations doing exceptional work to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug harms in Australia.

There are eight award categories including Research, First Australians, Media, Harm Reduction, Prevention, Treatment and Support, and Education. Nominations for the National Honour Roll award are also open.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor, said she is looking forward to acknowledging and celebrating the hard work being done to reduce and prevent harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.

“Harms from alcohol and other drug use are a big challenge across Australia, but there are important innovative practices and terrific outcomes that benefit the entire community. We want these to be shared and celebrated,” Dr Lalor said.

“The 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards is a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on the outstanding achievements within the alcohol and other drug sector and the broader community,” Dr Lalor added.

Nominations for the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards can be submitted via the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website

Nominations for the awards close at midnight 4th June 2019.

The 2019 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards ceremony will take place on the evening of the first day of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Prevention in Practice Conference in Melbourne on Monday 24 June 2019.

For more information about the National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards please visit the 2019 AOD Awards page or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380.

ENDS

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

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation welcomes continued Australian Government funding for the Local Drug Action Team Program.

The $153.3 million extension of the National Ice Action Strategy over two years from 2020-21 was announced in this week’s budget. Part of this funding will support further Local Drug Action Team activities across the country.

The Local Drug Action Team Program supports organisations to build or extend partnerships in their neighbourhoods and use local knowledge to deliver evidence-informed alcohol and other drug harm prevention and minimisation activities at a grass-roots level.

Activities being delivered by Local Drug Action Teams are creating strong and healthy communities by increasing protective factors against alcohol and other drug harms. Activities include skills development, education and training, youth mentoring and peer support programs, and community engagement.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor said tailored community led activities play a key role in preventing and minimising harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.

“The Local Drug Action Team Program recognises that every community is unique and there’s no one-size fits all solution to addressing alcohol and other drug issues,” Dr Lalor said.

There are currently 244 Local Drug Action Teams established across Australia.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation, which manages the Local Drug Action Team Program, is committed to working with Local Drug Action Teams to ensure their work is informed by evidence and is regularly monitored and reviewed.

ENDS

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

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is calling on all states and territories to introduce uniform real-time prescription monitoring systems, to reduce preventable prescription drug-related harms such as fatal overdoses and dependencies.

It comes as the Victorian Government shows leadership by announcing it will roll out its real-time prescription monitoring system, ‘SafeScript’ across the whole of the state tomorrow, after its launch in Western Victoria last year.

Real-time prescription monitoring provides medical professionals with timely information about a patient’s previous scripts for specific drugs, which can prompt discussions with the patient about their prescription history.

SafeScript will monitor the prescription drugs that present the biggest risk of harms to Victorians, including strong opioid painkillers and some medicines for anxiety or insomnia. These drugs can be highly addictive and even fatal when not taken as prescribed.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor said prescription drugs are responsible for more deaths in Australia than illicit drugs. She called on all jurisdictions to urgently introduce uniform real-time prescription monitoring systems.

“If every jurisdiction had complementary real-time prescription monitoring systems, medical 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 could even save lives,” Dr Lalor said.

Real-time prescription monitoring is part of a suite of measures needed to help reduce pharmaceutical-related harms. Australians should also be informed about the dangers of prescription drugs and be encouraged to treat pain without prescription medication where possible.

“Perceptions that pharmaceutical drugs are ‘safe’ means many people may overlook the risks. Everyone should know that the non-prescribed use of pharmaceutical drugs can lead to drug dependency, overdose and even death,” Dr Lalor warned.

More information about real-time prescription monitoring and SafeScript can be found here on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website.

If someone feels that they have a prescription medication dependency, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation strongly recommends they talk to a GP or pharmacist.

People can also 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 or territory.

ENDS

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

244 Local Drug Action Teams are now established across Australia to prevent and minimise alcohol and other drug-related harm in their communities.

The Australian Government and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation have announced today an additional 72 Local Drug Action Teams, to join 172 existing Teams.

The Local Drug Action Team Program supports organisations to build or extend partnerships in their neighbourhoods and use local knowledge to deliver evidence-informed alcohol and other drug harm prevention activities that are tailored to individual community needs.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor said a high number of community partnerships applied to join the Local Drug Action Team Program.

“Strong demand from communities across Australia has meant the number of Local Drug Action Teams is higher than originally planned, giving us the opportunity to now work with 244 passionate community partnerships,” Dr Lalor said.

“More than 1,300 organisations are now part of Australia’s extensive Local Drug Action Team Program network. This shows how determined community organisations are about building healthier and more connected communities,” Dr Lalor added.

Local Drug Action Teams receive an initial $10,000 and are supported by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to develop Community Action Plans, which outline evidence-informed prevention activities to address local alcohol and other drug-related issues.

Local Drug Actions Teams can also apply for further funding to deliver their Community Action Plan activities.

Local Drug Action Teams help to strengthen their neighbourhoods by delivering primary prevention initiatives such as peer support, mentoring, education in schools, support for young people and resources to reduce alcohol harms in pregnancy.

Dr Lalor said tailored community-led initiatives are vital in preventing and minimising harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.

“The Local Drug Action Team Program recognises that every community is unique and there’s no one-size fits all solution to addressing alcohol and other drug issues,” said Dr Lalor.

The Local Drug Action Team Program is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy.

Click here to find a map of Local Drug Action Teams across Australia https://community.adf.org.au/join-program/local-drug-action-team-program-overview/

ENDS

For more information about the Local Drug Action Team Program please visit https://community.adf.org.au/ or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380.

With many young Australians in end of year celebration mode, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation has released a new resource called ‘Alcohol and Young People’ to shine a spotlight on the harms associated with adolescent drinking and to encourage the whole of community to take action to prevent and minimise these harms.

Alcohol is the most common drug used by young Australians. Nearly half of 12-17-year-olds have consumed alcohol in the past 12 months.

Traditionally, many Australians have been relaxed about young people drinking alcohol, but research now indicates this is a particularly risky time to consume alcohol because the brain is still developing.

“Research suggests parts of the brain developing during adolescence are sensitive to even small amounts of alcohol,” Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor said.

“Binge drinking during adolescence may result in damage to the brain which can impair memory, concentration and learning capacity,” Dr Lalor added.

Alcohol also contributes to all of the leading causes of death for young Australians, including suicide, car crashes, accidental poisoning and assault. Additionally, youth drinking is connected to earlier and more harmful patterns of alcohol consumption.

“Although fewer adolescents are choosing to drink alcohol and are delaying drinking until later in life, alcohol still causes significant harm to many young Australians,” said Dr Lalor.

“As a society, we should be working harder to delay younger people’s consumption of alcohol,” Dr Lalor remarked.

Policymakers, schools and the wider community can take positive steps to help protect younger people from harms associated with alcohol. Parents play a significant role in shaping their child’s beliefs and attitudes around alcohol through their own alcohol-related behaviours.

“Parents remain the most likely group to provide alcohol to their children, which suggests many adults are not aware of the negative impacts alcohol has on young people, including the damage it can cause to the developing brain,” Dr Lalor said.

“Parental disapproval of their children drinking alcohol can reduce the likelihood of adolescent drinking,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s ‘Alcohol and Young People’ resource details how parents can help to reduce alcohol-related harm, including:

  • Know the facts about alcohol in adolescence. Explain why you don’t want your kids drinking under the age of 18. Talk to your kids about boundaries, expectations, and consequences.
    • Don’t give alcohol to your children. Secondary supply laws make it illegal for anyone else to supply your child with alcohol without your permission.
    • Communicate and share information with other parents to create a community culture that does not support adolescent drinking.
    • Role model positive behaviour around alcohol, such as showing you don’t need a drink to have fun or relax; sometimes turning down a drink; having celebrations without alcohol; and drinking within the Australian guidelines.
    • If you’re worried a young person is struggling with alcohol, contact one of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s recommended services or call the DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84.

Download a full copy of ‘Alcohol and Young People’
ENDS

Media enquiries: For media enquiries, please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Media Manager Carmel Green on 0430 948 380.

Media release PDF

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has celebrated some of Australia’s best community sport clubs at this year’s national Good Sports Awards.

Local sporting club representatives from across the country were recognised at the Good Sports Awards ceremony in Melbourne on Monday 19 November, for their commitment to building stronger, healthier and more family-friendly clubs.

“Good Sports is working with more than 9,000 sports clubs across Australia to build healthier and stronger communities by preventing and minimising alcohol and other drug-related harm,” said Federal Sports Minister, Senator Bridget McKenzie.

More nominations were received for this year’s Good Sports Awards than ever before, with twice as many entries as 2017.

“The Good Sports Awards recognise outstanding local sports clubs, as well as the passionate people within these clubs, that are dedicated to fostering a healthy and inclusive culture for their members and guests,” Senator McKenzie added.

The award winners and finalists are standout Good Sports clubs for going above and beyond the Good Sports program. They have implemented policies around alcohol management, tobacco, safe transport, healthy eating, positive spectator behaviour and/or mental health.

Good Sports supports clubs to role-model positive behaviours and build more inclusive and healthier environments.

In addition to participating in the Good Sports program, many of the Good Sports Awards nominees pride themselves on innovative initiatives that make everyone feel welcome, such as beach education programs for international students and refugees, and a footy boot exchange to reduce the costs of playing.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation, which manages the Good Sports program, praised the Good Sports Awards winners and finalists, calling them community champions.

“The Good Sports Awards winners and finalists are true local leaders. They should feel incredibly proud of their efforts in building stronger and more connected communities,” said Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor.

“Community sporting clubs are becoming healthier and more family-friendly through Good Sports. We invite more clubs to join the program, so they too can benefit,” Dr Lalor said.

“We know running a community sporting club is hard work. That’s why the Good Sports team is committed to guiding clubs through the Good Sports 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.

Please find the full list of this year’s Good Sports Awards winners and finalists below:

The 2018 national Good Sports Award winners are:
National Good Sports Club of the Year//Bluff Point Strathalbyn Cricket Club (WA)
Club Champion of the Year//Dawn Likouresis//Lakeyres Sporting Group (SA)
Healthy Eating Club of the Year//Leichhardt Football Club (Cairns, QLD)
Healthy Minds Club of the Year//Kingston Blues Netball Club (TAS)
nib foundation Junior Club of the Year //All Saints Toongabbie JRLFC (NSW)
Rookie Club of the Year//West Gambier Netball Club (SA)
Tackling Illegal Drugs Club of the Year//University Azzurri Football Club (NT))

The 2018 national Good Sports Award finalists are:
Club Champion of the Year// Wayne Meredith//Barron Trinity Bulls Rugby Union Club (QLD)
Healthy Eating Club of the Year//Wollondilly Junior AFL (NSW)
nib foundation Junior Club of the Year//All Saint Basketball Club (VIC)
Rookie Club of the Year//Grassy Football Club (TAS)
Tackling Illegal Drugs Club of the Year//Barron Trinity Bulls Rugby Union Club (QLD)

The 2018 ‘Good Sports Club of the Year’ state/territory award winners are:
WA//Bluff Point Strathalbyn Cricket Club
ACT//Tuggeranong Netball Association
NSW//Cook Hill Surf Life Saving Club
NT/Palmerston Rugby Union Club
QLD//Bardon Latrobe Football Club
SA//Forestville Hockey Club
TAS//OHA Hockey Club
VIC// Mount Pleasant Football Netball Club

The 2018 ‘Good Sports Club of the Year’ state/territory runners up:
WA//Rockingham Outrigger Canoe Club
ACT//Canberra BMX Club
NSW//Asquith Rugby League Football Club
NT//University Azzuri Football Club
QLD//Carindale Cougars JAFC
SA//Powerblades Dragon Boat Racing Club
TAS//South Launceston Cricket Club
TAS//Weily Park Rockers Cricket Club
VIC//Eltham Lacrosse Club
VIC//Melbourne University Soccer Club
ENDS

For interview requests or more information about the Good Sports Awards winners and finalists, please contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s media team on 0430 948 380 or media@adf.org.au

About Good Sports: The core Good Sports program is nationally funded by the Australian government. Good Sports works with local sporting clubs to build a healthier sporting nation. More than 9,000 clubs across Australia are taking part in this three-tier accreditation program that provides resources and training to help create more family-friendly environments, where club members look out for one another in the areas of alcohol management, tobacco and safe transport.

Media release PDF

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation and the Australian Government invite community-based organisations who are passionate about their neighbourhoods to apply for the latest round of the Local Drug Action Team Program.

The Local Drug Action Team Program supports organisations to build or extend partnerships in their community and develop evidence informed activities to prevent and minimise alcohol and other drug-related harms at a local level.

“Alcohol and other drugs can impact on any neighbourhood, which is why we’re inviting community organisations right across Australia to apply to join the Local Drug Action Team Program,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor.

“The Local Drug Action Team Program recognises that every community is unique and that locally-led responses are vital when it comes to preventing and minimising harms caused by alcohol and other drugs,” Dr Lalor added.

Successful Local Drug Action Teams receive an initial $10,000 and are supported by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to develop Community Action Plans, which outline planned evidence informed prevention activities to address alcohol and other drug-related issues.

Local Drug Actions Teams can also apply for further funding to implement the activities within their Community Action Plans.

“This is a great opportunity for grass-roots organisations to use local knowledge to develop locally-led activities to support their own communities,” Dr Lalor said.

Applications for the Local Drug Action Team Program open Monday 29 October 2018 and are anticipated to close Friday 7 December 2018. The online application process is now easier than ever before and Alcohol and Drug Foundation staff are committed to supporting applicants through the process.

More information about how to apply to join the Local Drug Action Team Program can be found at community.adf.org.au

The Local Drug Action Team Program is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy.

There are currently 172 Local Drug Action Teams across Australia, and by 2020 there will be at least 220 nation-wide.
ENDS

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

Media release PDF

ALCOHOL AND DRUG FOUNDATION WELCOMES SAFESCRIPT LAUNCH

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation welcomes the introduction of SafeScript in Victoria, saying the real-time prescription monitoring system is set to play a key role in helping to reduce prescription drug-related harms such as fatal overdoses and dependencies.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor says with prescription drugs now responsible for more deaths in Australia than illicit drugs, it’s critical that all jurisdictions across the country introduce integrated real-time prescription monitoring systems.

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

“Every state and territory urgently needs to introduce complementary real-time monitoring systems to help reduce preventable overdoses and the number of people misusing prescription drugs,” Dr Lalor added.

Real-time prescription monitoring systems provide medical professionals with timely information about a patient’s prescription medication history. The systems aim to prevent ‘prescription shopping’, where individuals obtain medical scripts from multiple prescribers.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation believes real-time prescription monitoring is just one strategy to help reduce pharmaceutical use. On top of this, all Australians need to be educated about the dangers of prescription drugs and be encouraged to treat pain without prescription medication where possible.

“People typically have a very different attitude towards pharmaceutical drugs than they do towards illegal drugs. Perceptions that pharmaceutical medications are ‘safe’ because they are usually prescribed by a medical professional means many people overlook the dangers. All Australians need to know that pharmaceuticals can be addictive and even fatal when misused,” Dr Lalor said.

If someone feels that they have a prescription medication dependency, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation strongly recommends they talk to a GP or pharmacist.

People can also call the DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The confidential service provides drug information and puts people in touch with relevant services in their state or territory, should they want counselling or treatment.

Media release PDF

MORE TASMANIAN FUNDING FOR GOOD SPORTS WELCOMED

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation welcomes additional funding from the Hodgman Government for the Good Sports program, Australia’s largest preventative health initiative in community sport.

The extra funding of $870,000 over two years means Tasmania is the first jurisdiction in Australia to access the full suite of Good Sports programs, including Good Sports core, Good Sports Junior, Good Sports Healthy Eating, Good Sports Healthy Minds and Tackling Illegal Drugs.

The additional funding will not only benefit more than 300 existing Good Sports clubs across the state, it will also support at least 80 new community sporting clubs to join the program.

“Thanks to the Hodgman Government, more sporting communities across Tasmania will have the support they need to implement practices and policies around alcohol management, tobacco, safe transport, illegal drugs, junior role modelling, healthy eating and mental health,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor.

“Good Sports encourages systemic changes in club culture to promote long-term positive health outcomes,” Dr Erin Lalor added.

“All community sporting clubs across Tasmania have the opportunity to join Good Sports. Our staff are here to guide clubs through the free program, making it easier for already busy volunteers to implement,” Dr Lalor said.

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

Media release PDF

ADF PRAISES NT GOVERNMENT FOR PROGRESSIVE ALCOHOL LEGISLATION

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) congratulates the Northern Territory Government on becoming Australia’s first jurisdiction to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor says the Northern Territory Government is showing leadership by recognising the strong link between price, alcohol consumption and related harms such as violence and ill-health.

“A minimum floor price for alcohol will play an important role in helping to reduce problematic drinking and its related harms among the Northern Territory’s heaviest and youngest drinkers, whilst having little impact on cost for moderate drinkers,” Dr Lalor said.

“Congratulations to the Northern Territory Government for taking the steps towards a healthier and safer community,” Dr Lalor added.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is calling on other jurisdictions across Australia to follow the lead of the Northern Territory.

“Price is a major determinant of people’s drinking. We know that when the cost of alcohol goes up, the heaviest drinkers consume less,” Dr Lalor said.

“Evidence from overseas is showing that introducing a minimum floor price for alcohol is an effective way to reduce the public health burden associated with problematic drinking,” Dr Lalor added.
ENDS

Media enquiries: For media enquiries, please call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Media Manager Carmel Green on 0430 948 380.

About the Alcohol and Drug Foundation: Celebrating nearly 60 years of service to the community, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation is one of Australia’s leading bodies committed to preventing and minimising alcohol and other drug harms in communities around the nation. The Foundation reaches millions of Australians in local communities through sporting clubs, workplaces, healthcare settings and schools, offering educational information, drug and alcohol prevention programs and advocating for strong and healthy communities. For more information, please visit adf.org.au.

Media release PDF

LOCAL DRUG ACTION TEAMS MORE THAN DOUBLED ACROSS AUSTRALIA

The Australian Government and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) have announced an additional 92 Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs), adding to the current 80, to prevent alcohol and other drug harms at a grass-roots level.

The Local Drug Action Team Program supports organisations to build or extend partnerships in their community and use local knowledge to deliver evidence-informed alcohol and other drug harm prevention projects, that are tailored to the needs of their local area.

The ADF’s CEO Dr Erin Lalor said it’s great to see such a strong response from the community.

“We received a large number of applications across Australia, showing communities feel they are in a strong position to take a pro-active role in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harms,” Dr Lalor said.

The total number of Local Drug Action Teams across Australia is now 172, with more than 1,000 organisations committed to the Local Drug Action Team Program.

Local Drug Action Teams receive an initial $10,000 of funding from the Australian Government and are supported by the ADF to finalise a Community Action Plan.

Dr Lalor welcomed the latest successful applicants into the Local Drug Action Team Program.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for community partnerships to use local knowledge and build evidence-informed initiatives to prevent alcohol and other drug related-harms in their communities,” Dr Lalor said.

“The Local Drug Action Team Program recognises that all local areas are different and that community-led initiatives are critical when it comes to preventing harms caused by alcohol and other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’),” Dr Lalor added.

The Local Drug Action Team Program is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy.

Map of the newly announced LDATs

Media release PDF

ADF welcomes continued Australian Government funding for Good Sports

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) welcomes continued Australian Government funding for the Good Sports program.
Around 9,500 Australian sporting clubs are set to benefit from the two-year investment of $10 million, which was announced in the Australian Government’s 2018 budget.

Good Sports currently works with more than 8,000 sporting clubs nation-wide to help prevent and reduce harms from alcohol and other drugs.

The program offers clubs the support they need to implement policies around alcohol management, smoking, illegal drugs, safe transport and in some states healthy eating and mental health.

Yesterday’s funding extension announcement will ensure existing sporting clubs continue to reap the rewards of the program, as well as new sporting clubs.

“Further funding into the Good Sports program means more sporting communities across the country will have the support they need to reduce alcohol and drug-related harms,” said Dr Erin Lalor, Chief Executive Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

“Sporting clubs are a snapshot of society, and because alcohol and illegal drug use can affect all areas of society, no club is immune. Good Sports encourages systemic changes in club culture to promote long-term positive health outcomes,” Dr Erin Lalor added.

For more information go to Good Sports

Media release PDF

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) believes the drug testing trial at this weekend’s Groovin the Moo music event in the ACT, will help to reduce drug-related harms.

The trial is Australia’s first official drug checking service at a music event and is aimed at preventing festivalgoers from using especially dangerous substances.

Drug checking does not promote or condone illegal drug taking. The services give people who have already purchased drugs and are intending to use them, the opportunity to test the drug’s strength and key ingredients.

Drug checking services provide safe environments where young people also learn about the risks associated with drug use and can be connected to support or health services.

“Drug checking can save people’s lives and leads to less dangerous drug taking,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO Dr Erin Lalor.

Austrian research shows that half of people who had their drugs checked said their results affected their consumption. Two thirds of people in the same study said they would not take a drug if negative results were found.

“The reality is, people are bringing drugs to music events with the intention of taking them. When people use drug checking services, they are more likely to ditch their drugs or take less after learning the results,” Dr Lalor said.

“Drug checking services overseas are seeing significant success, so the ADF is really looking forward to seeing the results from the Groovin the Moo drug checking trial,” Dr Lalor added.

For more facts about drug checking, please visit https://adf.org.au/insights/drug-checking-a-harm-reduction-strategy/