Curbing Harmful Alcohol Consumption in Australia

Contents

1. Introduction. 3

2. Assessment of the document 4

2.1 Readability. 4

2.2 Usability. 5

2.3 Persuasiveness. 5

3. AIDressing alcohol misuse in Australia. 6

4. Harmful alcohol consumption. 7

4.1 Males. 7

4.2 Females. 7

4.3 The definition of a standard drink. 8

5. Actions to aIDress problems caused by harmful alcohol consumption. 8

5.1 Individuals. 8

5.2 Parents. 9

5.3 Health Professionals. 9

5.4 Local Government 10

5.5 Sporting clubs. 10

5.6 Schools. 10

5.7 Workplaces. 10

Conclusion. 11

References. 12

 

1. Introduction

Alcohol is a significant part of Australian culture and is normally consumed in numerous social circumstances. The Australian Bureau of Statistics asserts that alcohol consumption in Australia is at low immediate risk levels. Nevertheless, there are some cases of alcohol consumption that increases the individual risk of injuries related to alcohol and health problems. In 2003 alone, harmful alcohol use comprised of approximately 3.2 percent of the total burden of injury and disease in the country (Kirby 2012). On a global level, harmful consumption of alcohol ranks third in terms of risk factors for disease and causes approximately 2.5 million deaths annually. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHNRC) provides guidelines aimed at reducing the health risks linked to harmful alcohol use. This approach has the primary objective of offering an evidence base used for policy formulation regarding alcohol consumption, and offer advice to the community on minimizing and avoiding health risks linked with alcohol consumption (Vikram, Alistair & Valery 2010). The underlying inference from the patterns of alcohol consumption in Australia is that the issue is a serious problem leading to enormous social costs exceeding $ 15 billion. Numerous reports have attempted to provide suggestions to offer solutions to the problem of alcohol consumption in Australia; however, they fail to offer succinct and persuasive methods to effectively tackle the problem (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009). It is essential to acknowledge that alcohol consumption is mostly a personal choice, implying that suggested strategies should be persuasive in nature in order to influence individual decisions to use alcohol. At present, at least 85 percent of South Australians consume alcohol, whereas at least 40 percent drink alcohol on a weekly basis. In aIDition, approximately 85 percent of students aged between 12 and 17 have tried alcohol. These worrying trends pose the need to adopt effective policy actions and raise public awareness on the dangers of increased alcohol consumption (Upfal 2006). This report suggests recommendations on a report issued earlier by the Alcohol and Drug Information Service, which is an Australian government authority that has the responsibility of providing policy guidelines to encourage safe drinking practices.

2. Assessment of the document

This section of the report evaluates the ADIS report titled Safe Drinking in terms of usability, persuasiveness and usability, which are vital in ensuring that the report achieves its intended objectives. This current report will outline the weakness of the document and use the identified weakness to redraft the report and increase its readability, persuasiveness and usability (Upfal 2006).

2.1 Readability

The readability of the document is relatively low because of the fact that the report does not adopt a descriptive or an explorative approach. The document has only listed the statistics without explaining the significance of these statistical trends. This makes it difficult for the reader to grasp the significance of the report and the message that the document is conveying. The document lacks clarity in terms of the points presented in the report. For instance, the document has a title called Health Professionals and goes ahead to provide bullet points under the heading without describing what the bullet points are referring to. Further, there is adequate statistical data; although the document does not highlight the implication of these statistics. For instance, the document fails to highlight the social costs associated with high prevalence of alcohol consumption (Graham, Wodak & Whelan 2002). The structure of the document also hinders its readability. For instance, the document provides the responsibility of various stakeholder groups regarding the problem and later presents the statistics. This is comparable to providing the solutions then outlining the problem; rather, effective solutions are reached after outlining the problem and formulating solutions later.

2.2 Usability

The document significantly fails to highlight the policy implications associated with the findings presented in the report; instead, the document only provides statistics to indicate the prevalence of alcohol abuse in Australia without highlighting any prospective policy actions and initiatives to raise awareness on the dangers of alcohol consumption (Graham, Wodak & Whelan 2002).

2.3 Persuasiveness

The persuasive score of the document is relatively low taking into account the fact the report lacks graphical representation of the dangers associated with alcohol abuse. Graphical representations are vital tools for persuading the audience towards a course of action. In aIDition, the document calls the audience to specific action, but fails to highlight the steps needed to achieve the goals of the call of action. Persuasion is usually effective through rationalization, an aspect that the document disregards because it only calls the audience to a course of action without providing the rationales and the expected outcomes after the implementing the suggested actions to tackle the problem of alcohol abuse in Australia (Upfal 2006). Further, the document fails to acknowledge that the statistics are worrying, and an effective solution is needed before the problem goes out of hand and becomes costly for Australians. The following section is a redrafted section of the document with enhanced readability, usability and persuasiveness.

3. AIDressing alcohol misuse in Australia

The statistics of alcohol consumption in Australia depict a worrying trend that warrants proactive action to contain the issue. At present, at least 85 percent of South Australians are consuming alcohol, with over 40 percent drinking on a weekly basis. Further, at least 85 percent of school children aged between 12 and 17 have tried drinking alcohol. The worrying patterns of alcohol consumption in Australia indicate that Australians need to reevaluate their drinking habits. In the years 1993/1994-2000/2001, harmful alcohol consumption has accounted for about 40,000 hospitalizations. In 2004, about 41,000 people were victims of physical abuse inflicted by people had over indulged in alcohol. An aIDitional 125,000 received threats from people had indulged in alcohol (Babor 2010). Cases of verbal abuse also tend to increase with harmful alcohol consumption. Statistics also point out that harmful alcohol consumption increases the risk of short term harm such as physical violence, road accidents and domestic violence. It is apparent that increased harmful consumption is increasingly becoming a significant harm to the society and threatens the peaceful coexistence of Australians (Harden 2009).

The situation is further worsened by the fact that many Australians do not consider alcohol as a serious problem; rather, they perceive alcohol as a rite of passage that cannot raise significant concerns. For instance, approximately 30 percent of Australians hold the belief that it is acceptable to drink in public. This is a misconception because the realm of the matter is that Alcohol abuse is extremely costly to Australia and costs at least $ 15 million dollars annually. The social costs of alcohol arte aggravated by the fact that 51 percent of alcohol taken at high risk levels increases the risk of short-term harm, wherein alcohol is responsible for approximately 3,000 deaths annually (Kirby 2012). There are also secondary effects of harmful alcohol consumption that are propagated to the entire community. Therefore, the community and individuals have the responsibility of taking action in order to aid in making Australia safe by eliminating problems caused by harmful alcohol use (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009).

4. Harmful alcohol consumption

There a numerous alcohol related harms that affect the individual and the community at large. Some of the prevalent alcohol-related harms include physical and verbal violence, drunk driving, unsafe sexual practices, road accidents, criminal behavior, family breakdowns, and underage access to alcohol. These harms are a significant threat to the peaceful coexistence of the Australian society (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009).

The National Health and Medical Research Council provides guidelines for low risk drinking levels for Australians. The levels of low risk alcohol consumption depend on various factors such as age, gender and medical conditions of an individual. The following are the recommended low risk levels for alcohol consumption of various population groups (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009). The following diagram shows the health risks of harmful alcohol consumption.

 

4.1 Males

The low risk drinking levels for males should not exceed an average of four standard drinks on a daily basis and not more than an average of 28 standard drinks on a weekly basis. In aIDition, Australian males should not exceed six standard drinks on a daily basis. It is suggested that males should have about 1-2 days alcohol free on a weekly basis.

4.2 Females

The low risk drinking levels for Australian females should not exceed two standard drinks on a daily basis and not more than 14 standard drinks on a weekly basis. In aIDition, Australian females must not exceed four standard drinks on any day. It is also suggested that females should have about 1-2 days alcohol free on a weekly basis. For the case of pregnant and breastfeeding females, the safest option is to avoid drinking.

4.3 The definition of a standard drink

A standard drink refers to any drink having 10 grams of alcohol. This is mostly shown in the bottle labels, cans and casks, which usually indicates the number of standard drinks found in the container. Further information regarding the guidelines is found at www.alcohol.gov.au.

5. Actions to aIDress problems caused by harmful alcohol consumption

There are a number of actions that the Australian community and citizens can initiate in order to eliminate the problems caused by harmful alcohol consumption. The following are the proposed course of actions to be taken at the individual and community levels including various groups.

5.1 Individuals

The first step in aIDressing the problems caused by harmful consumption is that individuals should acknowledge the problems resulting from misuse of alcohol. This is integral in accepting that there is a problem that requires immediate and serious solutions. Individuals can also eliminate problems of harmful alcohol consumption through reporting inappropriate alcohol marketing and promotions. Individuals can also report antisocial and inappropriate behavior in licensed premises (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009). Behavioral modification is also an effective individual step in ensuring that a person drinks at low risk levels. Another approach to curtail problems of harmful drinking is to implement appropriate precautions to ensure guest safety when hosting a party or an event. Arrangements should be made to ensure safe transport, adequate supply of non-alcoholic drink options, and assisting guests to watch their drinking. Besides individual initiatives, there are specific groups’ initiatives that can be helpful in mitigating the problems caused by harmful drinking; they are discussed in the following section (Kirby 2012).

5.2 Parents

Parents can help reduce harmful alcohol consumption by monitoring the activities of their children and encouraging their children to discuss issues that affect them, such as alcohol consumption and initiatives to stay safe. This approach is effective in reducing underage access to alcohol and indulgence. Parents can also help in reducing harmful alcohol consumption among their children by becoming role models of low-risk drinking habits. This is achieved by limiting the supply of alcohol to minors. Parents must ensure that their children learn to drink responsibly, which is attained through gradual and regulated alcohol introduction for the children (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009).

5.3 Health Professionals

Health professionals must access the Australian Alcohol Guidelines from the government’s website, after which they have the responsibility of educating their staff and the public about low risk drinking habits. This strategy is helpful in increasing the public awareness concerning low risk consumption of alcohols. In aIDition, health professionals can help mitigate the problems of harmful alcohol consumption by offering screening, evaluation and brief intervention, particularly for high risk groups such as teenagers, pregnant women, aboriginal populations and people with mental health conditions (Fitzgerald & Trevor 2009).

5.4 Local Government

The local government can help mitigate harmful alcohol consumption in Australia through coordinating local activities in order ensure that young people participate in safe and healthy recreation alternatives. The local government can also play a forefront role in the development of alcohol management plans having the primary objective of eradicating harm and increasing intervention measures such as liquor licensing accords and youth action plans. In aIDition, the local government is better positioned to influence the environmental variables that lead to harmful consumption of alcohol such as crime prevention initiatives and patrol.

5.5 Sporting clubs

Sporting should serve as the role models for low-risk drinking habits; as a result, individuals should participate in good sports programs in order to help the club in encouraging responsible drinking.

5.6 Schools

The Department of Education and Children Services developed a School Drug Strategy in order to ensure that schools are alcohol and drug free. Schools should play a forefront role in modeling children refrain from risks of harmful alcohol use.

5.7 Workplaces

Workplaces have the responsibility of accessing the effect of alcohol consumption on the productivity of their employees. As a result, workplaces should devise appropriate strategies to aIDress the issue of alcohol consumption in the workplace; an example is drug testing. In aIDition, it is important for organizations to formulate policy that precisely states the employee and employer rights and responsibilities, and appropriate strategies to help employees facing the problem of harmful alcohol consumption.

Conclusion

This paper has discussed the various ways through which the community and individuals can adopt strategies to curb the problem of harmful alcohol consumption, which is increasingly becoming costly for Australia. The paper calls Australians to the identified course of actions that are deemed effective in aIDressing the problem of harmful alcohol consumption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Babor, T 2010, Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity : Research and Public Policy, Oxford   University Press, Oxford.

Fitzgerald, R & Trevor, J 2009, Under the influence: A history of alcohol in Australia, ABC           Books, Sydney, Auatralia.

Graham, R, Wodak, AD & Whelan, G 2002, ‘New pharmacotherapies for alcohol dependence’,    The Medical Journal of Australia, vol 177, no. 2, pp. 103-107.

Harden, M 2009, Melbourne: The making of a drinking and eating capital, Hardie Grant   Publishing, Prahran, Vic.

Kirby, T 2012, ‘Blunting the legacy of alcohol abuse in Western Australia’, The Lancet, no. 379,   pp. 207-208.

Upfal, J 2006, Australian drug guide, Black Inc, Melbourne, Vic.

Vikram, P, Alistair, W & Valery, F 2010, Mental and neurological public health: A global perspective, Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

 

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