‘Cham­pi­ons’ pro­mote safe drink­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Health pro­fes­sion­als’ con­cern at high lev­els of drink­ing in the Pil­bara has prompted a re­gional cam­paign that calls on res­i­dents to take a stand on re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion of al­co­hol among their peers.

A col­lab­o­ra­tion of up to 30 or­gan­i­sa­tions, the Pil­bara Al­co­hol and Health Cam­paign aims to raise aware­ness of the dam­age caused by ex­ces­sive drink­ing by re­cruit­ing “lo­cal cham­pi­ons” to pro­mote pos­i­tive health mes­sages through­out Kar­ratha, Tom Price, Hed­land and Newman.

Mis­sion Aus­tralia Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Al­co­hol and Drug Ser­vice man­ager An­ton ten Brinke said agen­cies were wor­ried the pro­por­tion of Pil­bara res­i­dents drink­ing at lev­els above rec­om­mended guide­lines for life­time al­co­hol­re­lated harm ex­ceeded the State av­er­age.

“Based on per capita con­sump­tion, (they) drink 12.29 litres of pure al­co­hol each year, which equates to roughly three stan­dard drinks per day,” he said.

“Chronic al­co­hol-re­lated hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions can be up to twice as high for res­i­dents of the Pil­bara com­pared to other West­ern Aus­tralians, and this is a mat­ter of con­cern for our re­gion.”

Public Health Ad­vo­cacy In­sti­tute of WA di­rec­tor and Curtin Univer­sity health fac­ulty se­nior re­search fel­low Melissa Stone­ham said a tai­lored lo­cal cam­paign that aimed to change at­ti­tudes to­wards al­co­hol through per­sonal sto­ries could have pos­i­tive results. Heart Foun­da­tion WA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mau­rice Swan­son said high lev­els of al­co­hol con­sump­tion posed a whole host of short-term and long-term risks to car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

The Pil­bara cam­paign will run from June un­til Oc­to­ber and tar­get adults aged 25-54 from dif­fer­ent de­mo­graphic groups.

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