Com­mu­nity can tackle grog is­sue head-on

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Jakeb Wad­dell

A re­spected health re­searcher ad­vo­cat­ing against drug and al­co­hol abuse be­lieves the Broome com­mu­nity holds the so­lu­tion to grog-fu­elled vi­o­lence and an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour in the town.

Pub­lic Health Ad­vo­cacy In­sti­tute WA di­rec­tor Dr Melissa Stone­ham held a work­shop in town last week, in which about 50 res­i­dents out­lined steps they could take to al­ter the drink­ing cul­ture preva­lent in ru­ral ar­eas.

The Curtin Univer­sity-based ex­pert told the Broome Ad­ver­tiser she was aware of the many prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with drugs and al­co­hol in the hol­i­day town but said the an­swers rested with peo­ple and their roles, and not nec­es­sar­ily with liquor re­stric­tions or en­force­ment ac­tion im­posed by po­lice or li­censees.

“There is no one an­swer, but there are a num­ber of strate­gies that com­mu­nity mem­bers can take to start a pro­gram from the com­mu­nity up rather than from the au­thor­i­ties down,” she said.

“From the com­mu­nity per­spec­tive, sitting back and watch­ing the Govern­ment try­ing to deal with this very com­plex is­sue can be a bit frus­trat­ing.”

Dr Stone­ham said fam­i­lies, sport­ing clubs, schools, and the work­place all played an im­por­tant role in shap­ing the way drink­ing

was per­ceived. “It is be­com­ing more nor­mal for peo­ple to see al­co­hol be­ing pur­chased as part of their weekly shop — chil­dren are watch­ing adults drink more of­ten at riskier lev­els,” she said.

“Let’s get al­co­hol out of sport­ing clubs and al­co­hol ad­ver­tis­ing away from schools.

“The work­place cer­tainly plays a big role as well and they are the ones that re­ally need to set the ex­am­ple.

“They should be say­ing that work and al­co­hol do not mix.

“These are lit­tle steps but when they all add up you’ll fi­nally get some­thing that can be sus­tained over time.”

Sta­tis­tics pre­sented at the work­shop show Kimberley res­i­dents con­sume about 16 litres of al­co­hol each year, as op­posed to the State av­er­age of about 12 litres, and 77 per cent of as­saults in the re­gion are al­co­hol-re­lated.

Dr Stone­ham said fac­tors such as so­cial iso­la­tion, unem­ploy­ment, up­bring­ing and a high num­ber of young tourists con­trib­uted to the high rate of al­co­hol con­sump­tion.

This comes at a time when a pro­posed liquor re­stric­tion is due to be pre­sented be­fore the Kimberley Re­gional Group next month, which would limit the amount of al­co­hol an in­di­vid­ual could buy across the re­gion, sim­i­lar to ex­ist­ing laws in Derby, Ku­nunurra and Halls Creek.

Shire of Broome pres­i­dent Harold Tracey said he was pleased the four Shire coun­cils in the Kimberley were aligned on the is­sue for the first time in decades.

“These is­sues with al­co­hol have been on­go­ing for years and ev­ery­one needs to give the re­stric­tions a chance for them to work,” he said.

“We need to be bold enough to fi­nally do some­thing about this ma­jor prob­lem.”

Pic­ture: Jakeb Wad­dell

Dr Melissa Stone­ham

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.