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 In recent years the growing culture of alcohol use and abuse has raised serious questions about its increasingly negative impact on the community as a whole.

The Family Council of Victoria is especially concerned about the increasing impact from alcohol use and abuse on families, children and our young people.

Alcohol is a legal drug in Australia for people aged 18 years and over.

Alcohol is frequently used in conjunction with illicit drugs, thus compounding its adverse effects on the family and the whole community. Therefore this position paper should be read in conjunction with the FCV policy paper on illicit drug use.

A survey of Australians on the effect of alcohol on family life in 2008 showed that-

  • One in four families had experienced a negative impact of alcohol use.
  • One in five families had verbal arguments resulting from alcohol use.
  • One in ten families had experienced physical violence or threats from alcohol use.

In order to combat the adverse effect on families of a continual growth in alcohol use, the Family Council of Victoria supports -

 

  • Doing everything possible to change the pro-alcohol culture we now have.
  • The removal of all alcohol advertising from the media, sport and billboards.
  • Increased tax rates on all alcohol products - these taxes must be used to establish a fund to finance rehabilitation programs and compensate those adversely affected by other people's alcohol abuse.
  • The establishment of a federal data base of real solutions that are proven to reduce alcohol consumption based on world's best practice.
  • A substantial increase in the number of funded alcohol rehabilitation programs.
  • Programs being assessed on their outcomes not their philosophical or religious basis.
  • The establishment and/or financing of programs that educate about the harm, trauma, distress and violence associated with alcohol use and abuse.
  • Courts being used to divert alcohol users with social problems into compulsory early intervention rehabilitation programs with the aim of achieving an alcohol free state.
  • The establishment and/or financing of facilities to support and rehabilitate alcohol users that are involved with self harm.
  • The establishment and/or financing of support structures for families suffering due a family member's alcohol abuse.
  • Increasing the legal age for purchasing and drinking alcohol in all states to 21 years.
  • The production and promotion of truthful information on the harms of alcohol.
  • Encouraging teenagers, across the school curriculum, not to use alcohol.
  • Community programs to dissuade participation in schoolies week and similar activities.
  • Support for groups assisting former alcohol users to maintain their alcohol free status.
  • Support for low alcohol initiatives to reduce alcohol use in the community.

Ongoing assessment programs

  • Alcohol use problems to be assessed on a whole of community impact basis rather than simply as a health issue.
  • Regular surveys of alcohol use within age and status criteria to ascertain trends in alcohol use and problems generated in the community.

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