Drug Action Week 2011

Media release from ADCA:

Drug Action Week 2011 – Change the Drinking Culture of Young Australians: As binge drinking has increasingly become a major health issue for all Australians, particularly young people, the Drug Action Week (DAW) 2011 supporting theme today is Change the Drinking Culture of Young Australians.
Since the start of DAW 2011 on Sunday, communities and media organisations across Australia have actively promoted the achievements of the frontline workers in the alcohol and others drugs (AOD) sector who strive to reduce drug-related harm.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), Mr David Templeman, said that today’s focus was another important element of the overarching theme of Looking after YOUR Mind! which yesterday had Don’t Mix Alcohol and other Drugs as the supporting theme.
“Communities across the country really need to come to grips with the health and economic impact excessive consumption of alcohol is having on all Australians,” Mr Templeman said. “New research estimates the total economic impact of alcohol is $36 billion annually, more than double previous estimates.”
Mr Templeman said that the latest data released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicated that in 2007, 10.3% of people aged 14 and over drank alcohol at levels considered to be risky for long-term health.

“The data also showed that higher proportions of women, aged less than 50 years, consume alcohol at risky levels compared with males in the same age groups,” Mr Templeman said. “In the 14-19 age group, the percentage for young women drinking to excess was close to 11%, rising to over 16% in the 20-29 group. Young men accounted for almost 7% and just over 15% respectively in the two groups.”

Mr Templeman said that while the data concentrated on long-term harm to a person’s health and the relationship to chronic disease, it was important to note that alcohol consumption impacts people in the short-term, and is the main contributor to drug-related deaths, injuries, and hospitalisations.

DAW 2011 has attracted a record 777 activities to raise awareness of AOD issues, and runs through to next Saturday, 25 June. Other supporting DAW 2011 themes are:
· Rural health is a growing concern and tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 June, the theme will be Country Communities “At Risk? from Alcohol and other Drugs. This aims to highlight the need for substantial improvement of resources as regional and remote communities face unique pressures when dealing with issues relating to the misuse of alcohol and other drugs.
· Improve Healthcare Arrangements for Indigenous Communities is the theme for Thursday (23 June) and calls for the upgrading of health services across the country which currently are impacted heavily by attracting and retaining an AOD workforce.
· The theme days will conclude on Friday (24 June) with Invest in AOD Prevention to Reduce Treatment Needs. Initiatives such as DAW underline the need for real investment in prevention and early intervention as only two per cent of health funding is spent on prevention, and 70 per cent goes to providing acute care. We need to keep people out of the hospital system.
NOTE: A complete list of DAW awareness activities planned in local communities can be found by logging onto www.drugactionweek.org.au and viewing Events Calendar.

Media Enquiries: Brian Flanagan, Manager Strategic Communications and Policy – Phone: 02 6215 9802 (w), 0400 860 058 (m), or Email brian.flanagan@adca.org.au.