ENJOY ALCOHOL - IN MODERATION
As the Australia Day activities become a memory, many of us now recognise that the long summer holiday period has finally come to an end. And for many it may have been a long, boozy summer holiday period. While we may enjoy alcohol in moderation, and there is even evidence a glass of red wine occasionally can actually be beneficial to our health, we must guard against over-indulging and even becoming alcohol dependent. Alcohol dependence can creep up on some people and so it pays to be aware of some of the tell-tale signs. These include worrying about when you’ll be able to have your next drink; sweating, nausea or insomnia when you don’t drink; and needing to drink more and more alcohol to get drunk. Other signs can be drinking alcohol, or wanting to, when you wake up in the morning; consuming alcohol regularly on your own, or trying to hide your drinking; and relationships with friends or family are affected by it. There are many avenues of help for people who feel they may be alcohol dependent and one program by the Australian Drug Foundation is the Community Alcohol Action Network (CAAN). This program, run by the ADF and the Department of Health in Victoria, encourages people to take action to reduce alcohol-related problems and harms within their own circles. CAAN’S goal is to challenge the “cultural place” of alcohol and helps people to reduce risky drinking within their family environments and their community. In particular CAAN encourages a reduction in the social pressures on people to drink in risky ways in social and private settings. CAAN’s current focus is to support parents to control their children’s access to alcohol, to limit underage drinking and to adopt low risk drinking customs within their family and domestic contexts. The ADF also delivers a suite of successful programs that are helping to raise awareness of the issues around alcohol and other drug problems, and reduce harm in our communities. One of these is Good Sports which is Australia’s largest alcohol harm reduction program for the community sporting sector. Good Sports strives to make community sporting clubs healthier, safer and more family-friendly places. The program supports clubs to progressively introduce a set of practices and policies that create a culture of responsible drinking within the club. The changes aim to put the emphasis back on people and sport rather than alcohol. Research shows that Good Sports helps to reduce risky drinking, and its associated harms (including drink driving) among participating clubs. Importantly, it is successful at reaching and influencing hard-to-reach populations, such as young men, and transforming high-risk binge drinking sporting club environments. Furthermore, a recent independent economic analysis confirms its costeffectiveness. Good Sports’ success has been established by operating at a grassroots level in partnership with like-minded organisations. Good Sports works because it offers sporting clubs practical solutions to real problems experienced by them. It works because it offers clubs the hands-on project officer support and resources they need to succeed at no cost to them. And it works because participation is voluntary and clubs are free to progress through the program at their own pace according to their `readiness’ to achieve culture change within their club. Good Sports has been operating since 2000. It is among the most wellestablished, effective, evidence-based preventive health programs operating within community sport at a national level. The program currently includes over 5,800 community sporting clubs across every State and Territory, and reaches over 1.5 million Australians. Your local community pharmacy is your health destination and your Self Care pharmacist can give you more information and where to seek counselling about issues involving alcohol. Your Self Care pharmacy also has an alcohol fact card to provide further information. For the nearest location phone the Pharmaceutical Society on 1300 369 772 or check the website www.psa.org.au and click on Self Care Pharmacy Finder.