For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 23 March 2014
A five-year study in 20 rural and regional NSW towns has found that community action and education campaigns, without support from legislation, fail to curb binge drinking, assaults and serious alcohol-related harm.
The study, published in PLOS Medicine, found that mmeasures (including education programs in schools, media campaigns, advice from doctors, and increased policing on high-risk weekends) cut weekly alcohol consumption by 20 per cent and reduced verbal abuse, but made no difference to risky drinking, car accidents, hospital admissions and violence.
Anthony Shakeshaft, deputy director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said leaving communities to sort out their own alcohol problems was unlikely to work well without government legislation. He said the O’Farrell government’s new lockout and alcohol sales laws would ”only go so far,” and a volumetric tax and advertising bans were needed to cut overall harm.
Responsibility cannot be left up to local communities alone.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.