Alliance of health groups support Operation Unite: A Blitz on Drunken Violence

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) is supporting the collaboration by police from Australia and New Zealand to conduct the cross-jurisdictional initiative, Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence, this weekend (7–9 December 2012).

“Operation Unite is a rallying call for the nation,” said Professor Mike Daube Co-Chair of the NAAA and Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. “The infatuation with drinking to get drunk and poor decision making fuelled with alcohol can result in tragedies not only for drinkers but for innocent victims. Police and hospital resources are stretched intolerably by the need to deal with alcohol-caused injuries and violent behaviour. Police, health bodies, and the wider community need to work together to reduce the impacts of alcohol-related harm.”

More than one-quarter (28.7 per cent) of Australian adults report being victims of alcohol-related incidents ranging from verbal abuse to being put in fear of physical abuse. Alcohol is a major cause of deaths on Australian roads and the trend has been increasing over the past decade. Most Australians (83.2 per cent) support stricter enforcement of laws against serving drunk customers.

Operation Unite demonstrates the united determination of police to challenge alcohol misuse, crime, violence and anti-social behaviour. Police are using this weekend as an opportunity to highlight the risk of injury, assault and violence associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

“As we enter the festive season, Operation Unite sends a timely wake-up call to the community to think about their behaviour when out drinking and consider the consequences long after the night is over. We can all play a part in creating change,” said Todd Harper, Co-Chair of the NAAA and CEO of Cancer Council Victoria.

“An important part of achieving change in our harmful drinking culture is implementing effective prevention strategies,” said Mr Harper.

Mr Harper said the international scientific evidence shows that the most effective ways to reduce hazardous drinking and alcohol injuries and diseases in the population are by restricting the physical availability of alcohol through reducing opening hours and numbers of outlets, and increasing the price of alcohol through policies such as volumetric taxation and minimum pricing.

Political courage and all party support to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) has called on all political parties to show courage and support recommendations contained in the report FASD: The Hidden Harm, tabled in federal parliament yesterday.

The report is the result of an inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

The NAAA strongly supports the Committee’s recommendations to prevent FASD including new public awareness campaigns, health advisory labels, a review of the availability and pricing of alcohol, and a review of alcohol marketing regulations.

“Action on this entirely preventable condition must be a priority for the whole community and for all parties. We urge the Parliament to show courage in supporting these important and bold recommendations for a comprehensive approach that must aim to eliminate FASD in Australia,” said Professor Mike Daube Co-Chair of the NAAA and Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth.

“The Committee has rightly highlighted the need to increase awareness among women, health workers, and the wider community about the risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy.  Equally important will be the development of effective prevention strategies through a review of the impacts of the pricing and availability of alcohol, and current regulations to respond to alcohol marketing,” said Todd Harper, Co-Chair of the NAAA and CEO of Cancer Council Victoria.

“The international scientific evidence shows that the most effective ways to reduce hazardous drinking and alcohol injuries and diseases in the population are by restricting the physical availability of alcohol through reducing opening hours and numbers of outlets, and increasing the price of alcohol through policies such as volumetric taxation and minimum pricing,” said Mr Harper.

Mr Todd Harper said the NAAA welcomed the Committee’s call for government to develop a National Alcohol Sales Reform Plan aimed at reducing the harms caused by alcohol consumption across Australia.

The NAAA has also backed the call for a National Plan of Action for the prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD to be completed by 1 June 2013.