Sober­ing sta­tis­tics

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News - Kaylee Martin

ROYAL Life Saving WA fig­ures at­tribute 30 per cent of drown­ing deaths in young peo­ple to al­co­hol consumption, with 10 hos­pi­talised an­nu­ally af­ter a near-drown­ing.

AS the weather heats up, it is not un­usual for peo­ple to forgo the in­doors in favour of the beach or lo­cal pool.

But ac­cord­ing to Royal Life Saving WA, on av­er­age four young peo­ple will lose their lives to drown­ing, and 10 will be hos­pi­talised af­ter a near drown­ing and sus­tain brain dam­age or spinal cord in­jury.

Al­co­hol con­trib­utes to more than 30 per cent of th­ese in­juries.

The Don’t Drink and Drown cam­paign has launched a num­ber of new strate­gies to get young peo­ple to make smarter choices around the wa­ter if al­co­hol is brought into the mix.

RLSWA se­nior man­ager of health pro­mo­tion and re­search Lau­ren Nimmo said the num­ber of al­co­hol-re­lated in­ci­dents was alarm­ing and the mes­sage was not get­ting through.

“Too many young peo­ple are still tak­ing un­nec­es­sary risks while in or around the wa­ter and it’s not just a quiet drink with friends,” she said.

“The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in­volved in th­ese in­ci­dents recorded a blood al­co­hol level more than four times the le­gal limit for driv­ing.”

This sum­mer, RLSWA has col­lab­o­rated with the Depart­ment of Health WA to launch Don’t Drink and Drown’s new strate­gies to raise aware­ness on the risks of al­co­hol and wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties.

South Perth res­i­dent Kym­ber­ley Doig has been vol­un­teer­ing as a youth am­bas­sador for the pro­gram for the past five years and said as a young per­son her­self she could re­late to the is­sues.

“Teenagers are just about to turn 18 and their sum­mer will be filled with go­ing to the beach, pool par­ties and all sorts of wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties which gen­er­ally will in­volve al­co­hol,” she said. “When young peo­ple have drunk too much they don’t think about any added dan­ger.”

Ms Doig said her­self and a group of about 22 vol­un­teers were at­tend­ing the Leavers 2015 cel­e­bra­tions this week at Duns­bor­ough to ed­u­cate the re­cent school grad­u­ates on how to make smarter choices.

“We are urg­ing young peo­ple to look af­ter each other while cel­e­brat­ing this sum­mer,” she said.

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