Galaxy poll: Majority support for retention of NSW trading hour measures

21 February 2016

Polling has found more than two thirds of NSW residents support the continuation of the state government’s measures to reduce alcohol-related violence.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • More than two-thirds (68%) support the continuation of the NSW Government’s measures to reduce alcohol-related violence (including a 3am last drinks and a 1.30am lockout in Sydney, and a 10pm close for bottle shops selling takeaway alcohol across the state).
  • The majority of NSW residents believe Australia has a problem with alcohol (80%), and that more needs to be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol (79%).
  • The majority (73%) of NSW residents believe that alcohol-related problems in Australia will either remain the same or get worse over the next five to ten years.
  • The majority of NSW residents do not believe that governments (54%), alcohol companies (70%) and pubs and clubs (61%) are doing enough to address alcohol misuse.
  • NSW residents support a number of policies to reduce alcohol-related harms including introducing a closing time for pubs, clubs and bars of no later than 3am (80%), and not allowing alcohol to be sold in supermarkets (64%).
  • More than one in four NSW residents have been affected by alcohol-related violence, with one in six (15%) reporting they have been a direct victim, and one in five stating that a family or friend had been affected by alcohol-related violence.

The survey, which was commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and conducted by Galaxy Research, involved a sample of 353 NSW residents.

View the survey report

Lancet review of substance use in young people highlights burden of alcohol among Australian teens

22 February 2016

A major global review of substance use in young people, published last week in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, confirms that adolescence is a critical period for developing substance use related problems which can affect later health outcomes, and highlights the need for more research and better prevention and intervention worldwide. In Australia, alcohol made up the largest burden among young people, with males being most affected.

The three-part series, led by NDARC Professor Louisa Degenhardt and Professor Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland and co-authored by UNSW Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Dr Emily Stockings, reviewed the evidence for the current nature and patterns of substance use among young people around the world, the potential effects of adolescent substance use later in life, and the effectiveness of prevention, intervention, harm reduction and treatment.

Key findings:

Prevalence and harms

  • Alcohol and illicit drug use account for 14% of the total health harms affecting young people aged 20-24. In this age group in Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and PNG), alcohol and illicit drug use accounted for 22% of health harms.
  • Young adolescence is a period when substance use typically starts and patterns become established, and a large number of adverse health and social outcomes have been associated with substance use. This makes substance use in young people is an important public health concern.

Neurobiological significance of early use

  • Development continues well into the third decade of life and this has heightened the concern over the impact of adolescent use of alcohol and illicit drugs on cognitive and emotional development.
  • A range of studies have suggested that substance ease during adolescence can have a greater neuropsychological effect that substance use later in life, with some suggestion of an increased sensitivity to neurotoxic effects.

Opportunities for prevention

  • Policy interventions such as taxation, controls on minimum age and availability were found to be effective prevention and harm reduction measures for alcohol use.

To read the three papers of the series, click below:

  1. Prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, and treatment of substance use in young people
  2. Why young people’s substance use matters for global health
  3. Prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, and treatment of substance use in young people

Queensland passes laws to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence

18 February 2016

After an eleventh hour deal with cross benchers, the Queensland Parliament has passed Australia’s laws aimed at curbing alcohol-fuelled violence.

The Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which was introduced into State Parliament in November, is part of an election commitment from the government and aims to reduce violence through reduced trading hours and lockout timeframes.

The new laws will see all licensed pubs and clubs across the state stop serving alcohol at 2am from as soon as 1 July 2016. Venues located in a safe night out precinct will call last drinks at 3am, with a 1am one-way door coming into effect from 1 February 2017.

The legislation also includes a ban on high alcohol content drinks, such as shots, being sold after midnight.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the laws would make Queensland safer and save lives. “The evidence is clear: reduced trading hours leads to reduced violence, and that’s what this Bill delivers. “Doing nothing is not an option. I’ve spoken to countless doctors, nurses, paramedics, police, parents and grandparents who have urged me to take action to curb alcohol-fuelled violence.”

 

See NAAA’s submission to Queensland Inquiry into Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

See ABC News Queensland Parliament passes controversial lockout laws, says state will be ‘safer’

See QLD Government media statement: Palaszczuk Government delivers on tackling alcohol-fuelled violence

NAAA supports Senate Inquiry into alcohol-related violence

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) has backed calls by Senator Glenn Lazarus for an Inquiry into alcohol-related violence, saying that the Government can no longer ignore the need for decisive action to tackle the alcohol-related harms afflicting local communities across Australia.

However, NAAA co-chair Dr John Crozier has urged the Inquiry to adopt a comprehensive approach that addresses the range of alcohol-related harms and the underlying drivers of these harms.

“The reality is that the devastating toll of alcohol isn’t just confined to our city streets on a Saturday night, and we are seeing increasing death, disability, health service burden and social impacts of alcohol across Australia. The Inquiry needs to take a comprehensive approach that focuses on the underlying drivers of these harms, including the price, availability and advertising of alcohol,” said Dr Crozier.

Dr Crozier, who is also Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee, said surgeons and front-line medical staff are confronted with the effects of alcohol misuse daily, treating patients with injuries resulting from road traffic trauma, interpersonal violence and personal accidents that are caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Senator Lazarus has called upon the Federal Government to show leadership and to work in partnership with all states and territories in developing a national strategy to address the issue.

“While states and territories have introduced some important reforms, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive and coordinated response at a national level,” said Michael Moore, NAAA co-chair and CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia.

“Australia has not had a stand-alone national alcohol strategy since 2011, and the 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard rated the Federal Government as the lowest performing of all the jurisdictions in terms of its efforts to develop and implement evidence-based alcohol policy, mainly due to the absence of a whole-of-government strategic plan to address alcohol-related harm.

“Despite growing community concerns and numerous reviews and reports calling for policy action at a Federal level, we are yet to see alcohol taxation reforms, meaningful regulation of alcohol marketing, or mandatory labelling of alcohol products.

“At the same time, the Government has dismantled key advisory groups including the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANHPA), the Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment Advisory Committee, and the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC),” said Mr Moore.

The call for a Senate Inquiry coincides with a Galaxy poll, released yesterday, which shows 80 per cent of Queenslanders believe governments need to do more to address alcohol-related harms. It also follows research, released last week by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, which showed that one in seven patients attending Australian emergency departments on Australia Day were there as a result of alcohol harm.

“The devastating effects of excess alcohol use are comprehensive, and their prevalence is far-reaching; the Government’s approach to this issue must be equally comprehensive and far-reaching if it is to be effective,” Mr Moore said.

“We need a comprehensive and coordinated approach to make a national difference. Political leadership and policy action at a national level is vital, and a comprehensive Inquiry will provide an opportunity to examine the evidence and galvanise a whole-of-government response”.

 Download the media release pdf: NAAA supports Senate Inquiry into alcohol-related violence