Health & Healthcare

Cultural change required to beat binge drinking problem

6 Mar 2009, by Informa Australia

Studies show that binge drinking is becoming increasingly prevalent among young people with one in six people having more than 20 drinks in a month.
Binge drinking has damaging consequences including death from excessive alcohol consumption, permanent brain damage, alcohol poisoning and dangerous and violent behaviour.

These issues will be the main focus at the Binge Drinking Summit on March 30 2009 at the Vibe Savoy Hotel in Melbourne.

Conference manager Fasih Qureshi said: “With alcohol consumption considered a ‘rite of passage’ by some and an integral component of Australia’s identity by others, the issue of binge drinking and its impact on Australian society critically influences the formulation of effective alcohol policy.”

One of the key speakers at the conference is Chief Executive of DrinkWise Australia, Chris Watters.

“Cultural change is not achieved by short term ‘glib’ TV commercials,” he said. “DrinkWise Australia has adopted a systematic and long term approach to changing Australia’s drinking culture, including the design of a 10 year strategic plan.”

Mr Watters will also touch on promoting a more responsible drinking culture in Australia and delivering a message of moderation to the public.

“Using varying forms of media and tapping into grass-roots community projects from multiple entry points, DrinkWise evidence-based programs represent a collaborative, well researched and holistic approach to countering the rite of passage.”

Director of Cities for Safe and Healthy Communities and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability Oceania, Mark Boyd will explain how all levels of government can work together on good alcohol policy and help communities.

He said each tier of government had unique and specific roles and that national and state governments needed more engagement with local governments to deal with alcohol problems.

“I will also touch on the harms that can be addressed immediately through a better and through a stronger government role.”

Mr Boyd said binge drinking was a problem amongst young people because there was a lack of diversity in entertainment and venue options.

“I think we need to regulate our land use and urban planning to better encourage a diverse business mix so that there’s a range of entertainment and cultural options for young people and that will be the most effective way…to respond to generational drinking cultures.”

For more information please visit

To arrange a media pass, request more information or arrange speaker interviews at the Binge Drinking Summit please contact:
John Wilson on 02 9080 4107 or

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