Insight into drinking wins national award

Posted on: Monday, 27 June 2011

Eastern Health’s Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre has received national recognition for its insight into the effect problem drinkers can have on other people’s lives.

An insight into the effect problematic drinkers can have on others in their lives has seen researchers at Eastern Health’s Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre acknowledged on the national stage.

The team received a National Drug and Alcohol Award for Excellence in Research for their work which studied the complications and significant issues affecting the families and friends of problem drinkers.

Researchers analysed a range of national and state health and social data, as well as Australia-wide telephone survey results to estimate the human and economic costs of alcohol’s harm to others.

The work, The Range and Magnitude of Alcohol's Harm to Others, was conducted by the Alcohol’s Harm to Others Research Group, a collaborative effort between the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at Turning Point, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the National Drug Research Institute. Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) commissioned the project.

Turning Point researcher Dr Anne-Marie Laslett said the actions of a problem drinker could have a significant impact on family and friends.

“Our data shows family and friends are commonly emotionally or physically hurt, and that they spend large amounts of time caring for those people affected by alcohol,” Dr Laslett said.

“Without first documenting the extent of these problems it is difficult to develop initiatives that assist both drinkers and those around them.”

Dr Laslett said the work was of national and international importance, and had recently been incorporated into the World Health Organisation Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.

“We are humbled and thrilled to have been acknowledged for all the hard work our team at the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at Turning Point has undertaken,” she said.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) chairwoman Cheryl Bart said: “Until the release of this landmark study, the impact of a person’s irresponsible drinking on those around them had largely been ignored. We now know that a person dies each day because of someone else’s drinking, while there are almost 70,000 alcohol-related assaults in Australia each year.

“It’s now widely acknowledged that the total cost burden of alcohol misuse on the Australian economy is $36 billion each year – more than double previous estimates.”

The Turning Point team with their award-winning report.