EN­JOY AL­CO­HOL - IN MOD­ER­A­TION

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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