52% of Australians support an additional levy on alcohol

“Of Substance Magazine – Media Release

52% of Australians support an additional levy on alcohol. National alcohol survey backs major changes to drinking laws

Of Substance, (www.ofsubstance.org.au) Australia’s leading magazine on alcohol, tobacco and drug issues, has today released findings from its comprehensive survey into Australian attitudes towards alcohol.

The survey revealed widespread concern about the effects of alcohol, specifically binge drinking, but also about the impact alcohol was now having on young people and communities.

Respondents expressed significant levels of concern (over 80%) about personal safety, the safety of property and the workload on police because of alcohol related behaviour.

While 84 per cent were concerned about alcohol’s impact on the community, there was widespread confusion about what constituted a session of ‘binge drinking’. Indeed 47% of people believed a ‘binge’ would mean more than 8 drinks at a time Worryingly, almost 10% of respondents believed that someone was not bingeing on alcohol until they had consumed 15 or more drinks.

Conversely, only 1 in 5 respondents could recall having knowledge of the National Drinking Guidelines, which suggest low-risk drinking levels.

In a significant blow to efforts in the drugs and alcohol field to address alcohol related problems– a third of respondents couldn’t name anyone who they could go to for help with an alcohol related problem. More alarming still, 42 per cent of 18-29 year olds did not know where to seek assistance for an alcohol related issue. Interestingly, not one respondent named a telephone help-line as a source of where to get help despite these services existing for many years around the country.

The survey also highlighted that a third of respondents didn’t classify alcohol as a drug.

Alcohol advertisers were also targeted, with the results indicating that 77 per cent of people believe advertising efforts should be reviewed by an independent non-industry body before release to the media. They also wanted advertising restricted to places and times where it was unlikely to be seen by people aged under 18.

Two thirds of respondents believed there isn’t enough public education about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. One in two people (52%) were willing to see a levy placed on alcohol to help fund alcohol treatment and prevention services.

Of Substance spokesperson and board member Dr John Herron said: “The survey results are indicative of a nation that is confused about alcohol. Whilst moves made in recent weeks by the Government are definitely in the right direction more needs to be done in prevention, education and treatment.

It is time to move onto the tougher issues such as advertising and marketing of alcohol, alcohol availability and more generally the way we tax alcohol. Basically, the higher the alcohol content of a drink the more it should be taxed. We know that some of these are unpopular measures with government and industry, but the Of Substance survey shows there is substantial public support for them. I think there is little doubt now that the community is not only ready to see change but is demanding change from our governments.”

The full survey findings will appear in the April issue of Of Substance.

For more details on the survey and Of Substance, including to receive a free copy of the magazine visit, Filed Under: ATOD in the media, Other News Tagged With: ,

Living in ‘Interesting Times’… The “Under the Influence” Survey

“Adelaide, January 2008.
Second Mail-Out!

Welcome back from the Christmas / New Year break- we hope that you had the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones, and that Santa was kind to you all.

To those of you who have been kind enough to answer our survey- many thanks! We are well into three figures for respondents -beyond our expectations, I have to admit, but a reflection of the interest in the subject matter. The answers are already revealing interesting trends. Please disregard this email and enjoy the New Year!

To those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to answer our “Under the Influence” survey, or were too busy in the run up into Christmas- please, consider giving it a go today. We’d like it to be as representative as possible, and reflect all of the diverse opinions on the subject in Australia. If we don’t hear from you, we can’t include your opinion in our census, and as an AOD expert in Australia, we really do want you to be able to have your say. Just follow the link in the following section to take you straight to the survey.

To those of you who have received this letter for the first time- hello! Please have a look at our introduction / first mail out to our survey (below), and if you have the time, give it a crack. We think (perhaps immodestly!) that it’s quite an interesting survey to complete, and it shouldn’t take up too much of your time…

In the first decade of the new millennium, the world is an ‘interesting’ place for scientists and researchers. A number of critical issues, of global importance, have highlighted the increasingly significant role of impartial scientific inquiry in protecting humanity from itself. Unfortunately, as the stakes in the issues we need to address, so do the lengths that other parties go to influence the findings of scientists and researchers. The increasing attempts by non-scientific actors to influence the findings of science
and scientists are increasingly being uncovered around the world.

This has been particularly well documented in the field of climate change, both in the USA and it appears, in Australia. The Union of Concerned Scientists was formed in the USA to counter this movement, and a number of other areas are now under scrutiny.

Anecdotal reports suggest that the arena of alcohol and other drug (AOD) policy is not immune to this intervention and influence. Little formal research exists to investigate the scale of this problem in Australia, or indeed if it exists at all. We would like to invite you to have your say on the issue, and contribute to our greater understanding of the situation.

We have designed our ‘Under the Influence’ survey for anyone who is currently working in the AOD arena in Australia. It’s anonymous, and we are using a ‘snow-ball’ technique to target individual, rather than corporate, opinions. We want to know if you feel your work and your interests are allowed to stand on its’ merit, or whether you feel that you have had to make compromises for reasons that, to date, you have been unable to share.

It’s not all about the negative, though. We also want to hear about your hopes and aspirations, and what you would like see happen in your field in the next decade of this millennium. We believe that the data generated from our project will be useful to researchers and policy makers alike, providing a snapshot of the current mood of the
profession, as well as a template to guide future endeavours.

If you are interested, please paste the following link into your web browser, and follow the instructions.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Oa5MFYYROJmkIFj_2bWnewHQ_3d_3d

It won’t take very long (we promise!) and we think the results, once compiled, will provide very interesting reading. Please feel free to forward this on to anyone that you think might be interested in the topic, or in completing the survey. We are hoping that respondents forwarding this email will help get the maximal coverage for the survey, ensuring that we have a truly representative sample with which to work.

Thanks again for your time and energy – we look forward to sharing our results with you!

David Caldicott (Royal Adelaide Hospital)
Andrew MacIntosh (ANU)”