‘Champions’ promote safe drinking
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.