Call for more education on alcohol abuse

22:42, Aug 01 2012

The use of education to break the cycles of alcohol abuse was discussed at yesterday's joint public health committee meeting in Southland Hospital.

The talks came ahead of a recommendation that the Southern District Health Board provide data from its emergency departments to strengthen the Alcohol Reform Bill.

The bill - which has been before Parliament for 20 months - aims to raise alcohol prices and the purchase age, reduce advertising and marketing, as well as the accessibility of alcohol, and have the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers lowered.

The draft position statement, which will go before the health board this morning, is being considered by all South Island district health boards.

Yesterday, committee member Kaye Crowther said though she agreed with the statement, she questioned medical officer of health Marion Poore as to why education had not been included in one of the five "evidence-based" solutions the Southern DHB would advocate.

Dr Poore said there was evidence that education did help but it did not appear to result in sustained behaviour change.


"Education on its own isn't sufficient," she said.

Mrs Crowther said she was concerned that education was not noted in the report. "We certainly have a culture where [alcohol abuse] is the norm - is there a way we can break that cycle?"

Dr Poore said it could be a case of bringing the education component to parents and continuing from there. "This is something that is a long-haul strategy. It won't be a quick fix."

She said she hoped the Southern DHB contribution - which includes keeping track of the number of people showing up at Southern emergency departments with alcohol-related injuries or health concerns - would give more solidity to legislation around the bill.

The Southland Times