Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Think Before You Drink

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed the Salvation Army’s Alcohol Awareness Survey highlighting the problems of binge drinking.

“Young people should be aware that binge drinking is not simply a matter of having a big night out with mates and dealing with a hangover the next day. It can have serious immediate and long-term effects on a young persons health.

“There is no doubt that alcohol abuse is a real issue for the whole community. Currently more than 3,700 people die from alcohol related disease and illness every year.

“The report found the younger a person is when they start to drink the more likely they are to consume more than 30 drinks a week.

“For parents with children under 18 years, these findings present a good opportunity for them to examine their own alcohol intake and consider the example they set. It should also make them think about how best to deal with their children and their alcohol intake during the teenage years.

“For young people 20-24 years, the report found 59 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women binge drink. Young men drink to relax and young women drink to fit in.

“Young people are particularly vulnerable to images and behaviour around them. I agree with the Australian National Council on Drugs that the promotion of alcohol targetted at young people is irresponsible.

“Many high profile television programs don’t do much to help the cause with characters drinking huge amounts of alcohol.

“I support the Salvation Army’s call for young people to consider the immediate and long-term effects excessive alcohol use has.

“With all the information we have about the damaging effects on alcohol abuse, the community is still reluctant to accept that alcohol is a drug and the source of many social problems and illness.

“Alcohol is increasingly central to the way we socialise and relax. However, many people struggle to drink responsibly. I congratulate the Salvation Army and hope this report will make people think about their drinking habits,” Mr Anthony said.