Drunkenness a target for community awareness

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The Drug and Alcohol Office today launched the first phase of a long-term strategy to reduce drunkenness and its contribution to a range of problems experienced by the community.

This first phase involves raising awareness about drunkenness and related problems and what the community can do.

Drug and Alcohol Office Executive Director Steve Allsop said that creating and expecting safer private and licensed drinking environments would make a difference to alcohol-related harm in Western Australia.

"As a community, we will continue to get the levels of drunkenness, and the problems that go with it, for as long as we are prepared to go on accepting it," Dr Allsop said.

Drunkenness and associated behaviour such as assaults, domestic violence, car crashes, injuries and property damage cause significant cost and concern to the West Australian community.

"Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in WA, and the current level of harm must be reduced," he said.

"It was recently estimated that alcohol contributed to more than 8,000 hospitalisations in WA in 2001.

"The total cost of these hospitalisations was more than $30 million.

"Between 1992 and 2001, it was estimated that 2,917 West Australians died from risky or high risk alcohol use.

"The police report that up to 80 per cent of their work, including drink driving, property crime, assaults and domestic violence, is alcohol and drug-related."

Dr Allsop said the Enough is Enough alcohol education program was part of a long-term strategy to decrease the acceptance for drunkenness, and increase support for changes to environments that reduce drunkenness and related harm.

The first phase of the program will include media advertising, community-based initiatives and access to an interactive website which includes information and acts as a referral point for members of the community to identify options that can help with their local problem or area of interest.

"The Enough is Enough program is innovative because it doesn’t just say, ‘here’s the problem’; it provides solutions for people to consider and act upon," Dr Allsop said.

http://www.health.wa.gov.au

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