The Hon. Trish Worth, Chair of the Board of DrinkWise Australia, today welcomed the Operation Unite initiative by Australasian police services saying that it highlighted to the community the need to change our drinking culture.
‘We have a culture of drinking too young and often to excess that puts many Australians at risk of harm’, Ms. Worth said.
‘While alcohol is consumed in moderation by most people there is a worrying trend in our society where it is seen as acceptable to be drinking simply to get drunk. It then falls to the police and other emergency services to clean up the mess and deal with the consequences.
‘No doubt during the course of the next few days we will again see examples of alcohol fueled violence and the misadventures associated with people having too much to drink. Sadly, through poor choices, such as those associated with drinking and driving, many will wake up with not only a hangover but facing criminal proceedings as well.
‘Those who think alcohol abuse is a rite of passage need to think again. They are contributing to a downward spiral whereby kids are drinking at younger and younger age. The average age at which kids now start drinking is 15.5 years and more than a quarter of our 14-19 year olds are putting themselves at risk of alcohol-related harm at least once a month. We need to turn these statistics around.
‘Leaders within our community can make a difference: let’s question whether drinking needs to be part of every social occasion and think about what message this sends to the next generation. We all have a role to play; anyone can be a leader, whether parents, coaches, teachers or family members’, Ms. Worth said.
DrinkWise Australia has adopted a long-term approach towards generational change in the way we drink through the development of national information and education campaigns that inform and support the community to change this culture.
‘We take a whole of community view drawing on partnerships between government, industry and the community, as we consider this will have the greatest impact’, Ms. Worth said.
‘During the course of Operation Unite, DrinkWise Australia encourages people who are worried about the problem of alcohol misuse to visit our website to get the facts and to see what role they can play in fostering a more responsible drinking culture and ultimately a safer and healthier community’, Ms. Worth said.
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