“National Peak Endorses Federal Government ‘Alcohol Branding’ Initiative
The Federal Government initiative to consider the mandating of warning labels on alcohol products firmly places binge drinking and related alcohol issues in Australia on the national agenda, the Chief Executive Officer of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), David Templeman, said today.
“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, have raised the bar by signaling their intention to place Australia’s growing alcohol-related problems on the table at this week’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Adelaide,” Mr Templeman said.
“COAG can bring a common and structured approach to this issue as the Government in cooperation with the States and Territories need to significantly reduce the level of alcohol abuse in Australia, especially in geographic and demographic hot spots.”
Mr Templeman said that the World Health Organization (WHO) had concluded that alcohol was the third most important avoidable cause of death and disability in developed societies like Australia.
“Given this finding, alcohol is not an ordinary commodity and should not be treated as one – Alcohol is a drug – TOO! – a commodity that is deeply entrenched in Australian society with substantial industry economic interests in production and distribution,” Mr Templeman said.
“Each year more than 3000 Australians die and another 10 000 need ongoing medical treatment through alcohol-related harm, with the annual cost in alcohol-related absenteeism being 7.5 million working days and the economic impact of its abuse some $15.3 billion.”
A recent report by Professor Robin Room and Claire Wilkinson from the Alcohol Policy Research and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre in Melbourne recommends that warning labels should be included on all alcoholic beverages and that they should “be graphic and attention-getting, should occupy a considerable proportion of the package surface, and should involve rotating messages.”
“The report also says that ‘given the profile of problems related to drinking, the messages should address social as well as health and injury problems, and problems for others around the drinker as well as for the actual drinker’,” Mr Templeman said. “Alcoholic beverages should also include nutritional information as part of the health information requirements.”
Mr Templeman said the tobacco industry finally accepted that appropriate branding of its products was necessary for the health of the community, and that a similar approach to alcohol warning labels must be adopted in the national interest. Sun Safe’s ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’, and the Clean-Up Australia campaign are another two programs now adhered to on a daily basis by our children.
“ADCA is determined to provide a strong voice in the current climate to help bring about positive change for all Australians,” Mr Templeman said. “We need to recognise that excessive drinking is not solely a matter of individual responsibility, and to curb this dangerous practice we need to change the norms, attitudes, policies and practices affecting high risk drinking.” ”
What are your thoughts on this initiative? If it’s even half as successful as the quoted ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign then when in for some significant improvements….
Actually drinking in moderate amounts can be healthy for the heart, etc. Of course, this does not mean there should be a ‘Glug, Glug, Glug’ campaign to match ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’. Moderation is the key; and unfortunately too many people can’t stop at one or two.
My experience working with at risk young people in the entertainment hot spots is that they are unaware of what amount of alcohol is in their drinks. Constantly when asking an intoxicated young person how much they have had they tell me “only I.e. 10 drinks”. When they describe the drink I translate this into standard drinks (about 15)and they just don’t believe me. Any awarenes of this type I belive has to be worth something. However shots over the counter don’t come with labels. Liquor licensing needs to put into place regulation signs indicating the number of standard drinks in each drink they sell as well as the advertising on the bottled product.