The Binge Drinking Problem

Its no question that Binge Drinking in Australia has been a prevalent social issue for some time. However authorities in Ceduna, a South Australian west coast township say the town’s drinking has spiralled completely out of control.

Maybe Allan Suter states “It is totally out of control. People are just drinking themselves to death.”

A still of video footage taken from the front of a police car on the Eyre Highway.

Head of the K-9 Special Operations squad Bruce Thompson says he has saved a dozen lives by moving intoxicated individuals from the Eyre Highway. It is not uncommon for drunk citizens to stumble off dangerously. Moreover, it is driving tourists out of town.

Many methods have been attempted to stop the vicious cycle and intervention methods have been implemented. Last year, Ceduna enforced an ID system, where alcohol sales were limited to 2 liters per person per day. Although this had some sort of initial success, the population eventually resorted to enabling; alcoholics turning to others to help them deal with addiction.

Now, the council believes that in order to break the vicious cycle a restriction on welfare spending to booze-free outlets will be the solution. This however leaves a divided community. While some support the solution, other’s feel it is an infringement on their personal rights.

On the national scale, the Australian government has an anti-binge drinking campaign. Surfing Australia has recently announced its support of this campaign and has progressed to cancel all alcohol brand sponsorship. The campaigns main message being “Be the Influence- Tackling Binge Drinking”

Surfing Australia to Promote ‘Be the Influence – Tackling Binge Drinking’ Initiative

The participation and support of Surfing Australia is big in its influence towards the youth. The brand said they will address the youth binge drinking issue so from a younger age Australians will be more aware of the adverse effects of this addiction.

CEO Andrew Stark emphasizes that they will be addressing the issue in the most effective ways. He says, “The partnership has touchpoints across our entire organization from grassroots to elite. We are extremely appreciative of the support and look forward to a fantastic partnership.”

The partnership with the initiative allows Surfing Australia the naming rights for two national level event and state level events. All the While Owen Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons, world tour competitors of the Association of Surfing Professionals, have been named brand ambassadors of “Be the Influence.”

The Binge Drinking Problem is a social issue which mars many communities but the efforts of Ceduna township and Australia as a whole mark a step in the right direction.

-Jenny Zhuo

Sources:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/16744731/ceduna-drinking-spiralling-out-of-control/

http://topnews.net.nz/content/227318-surfing-australia-promote-be-influence-tackling-binge-drinking-initiative

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14 responses to “The Binge Drinking Problem”

  1. vkg5015 says :

    I had no idea that binge drinking was an issue in Australia. From your blog post, it seems like this is a very serious problem that the continent is facing. The fact that police officers have had to carry intoxicated individuals off the highway is extremely disturbing. From never hearing of this issue, to learning how serious of a problem it is, I am truly shocked to find out that this is such an issue and that it isn’t getting any better.

    I don’t think that putting a restriction on welfare spending at outlets that sell alcohol and beer is the best solution. It seems like this would definitely put a divide between the people, and leave some with rights that others don’t have – here in the U.S., I feel like that would cause serious problems. I think it would cause serious problems in Australia as well, while also making many people very angry.

    The anti-binge drinking campaign, with the support of Surfing Australia, is definitely a step in the right direction. With this organization being such a big figurehead in Australia (with world-wide recognition), I really think that they could have a positive impact on this issue. The fact that they are using spokespeople that are world tour surfers will also encourage many to learn about the campaign. Hopefully, they can help gain support for the cause and make an impact on this serious issue that Australia is facing.

  2. avc5258 says :

    I thought this article was very interesting. I had no idea that there was a Binge Drinking problem in Australia. After reading how it is not totally out of control, I wondered how this could be. It was also crazy to hear that this issue is so bad it is driving tourists out of town. Even though many methods have been attempted to stop the vicious cycle and intervention methods have been implemented, people are still doing it. I think that Ceduna did the right thing by enforcing an ID system, limiting the alcohol that can be purchased. It is also a good idea that the Australian government has an anti-binge drinking campaign. Surfing Australia is a great support to this as well. Once a country’s drinking problem becomes out of control, it is hard to get back on track and start limiting people’s intake and consumption of these beverages. I think they are doing a good job in limiting this. It is sad to see that the Binge Drinking Problem has become a social issue, which ruins many communities. I think that the efforts of the Ceduna township will help move the community and the citizens in the right direction. I think these campaigns are a great thing, especially when trying to show children and teens that alcohol is not the way to go. After seeing pictures of the drunk people in the streets, it is a good thing Australia is trying to change these ways.

    -Alexandra Criscitello

  3. Marissa Peterson (@maris15p) says :

    This article is extremely interesting. I had no idea that binge drinking was such a problem in Australia. I though America had a problem with excessive drinking but I do not think it has reached such a national level as it has in Australia. The fact that the binge drinking problems are driving tourists out of town is sad. The best way to learn about a culture and country is to immerse yourself in that country and it is sad that many people feel it is dangerous to do so. I think the ID system was a great idea put in place by Australia although with this type of situation I think black market and underground situations are nearly impossible to avoid so it is understandable that the system did not have such long term success. I think the campaigns will pose an upwards in positive outlook throughout the country but I do not think it will tackle the initial problem of binge drinking. I feel as though no matter how many advertisements people see and no matter how many times an alcoholic hears the dangers of drinking, they will have a hard time changing their ways and an advertising campaign simply cannot change a person’s ways. After reading this article I also started to think about if the drinking problem in the United States reached this detrimental level. It would be absolute chaos throughout our country. I feel that most of the binge drinking takes place in college towns throughout the United States so to see an entire country being affected is extremely scary. I think the welfare money restrictions is actually a great step in the right direction. It is extremely frustrating to see the misuse of welfare funds in the United States so I can only imagine the frustration by Australians in this situation. Although some feel this infringes on personal rights, I feel that it is acceptable in the sense that people should be spending that money on essentials and not alcohol.
    -Marissa Peterson

  4. Robert McDonough says :

    While reading this post, I thought to myself, “Well this is a coincidence.” Just yesterday I was talking with a friend who had recently returned from Australia from a study abroad program. After his classes were finished, he traveled Australia meeting people and staying in cheap hotels. He emphasized the amount of drunk people in Southern Australia. He believed the Irish stereotype of binge drinking does not compare to Southern Australians. This boggled my mind and reading this post strengthened his belief.
    I am happy to see campaigns are making progress in decreasing the amount of binge drinking. Surfing Australia and government control are positive steps in reaching a balance of alcohol consumption. I believe restrictions on alcohol purchases for those on welfare is a smart idea. Those receiving funds from the government should not be using the money to feed an addiction. That money should go towards more important things like food and housing. Also, the limitation to 2 liters at a time is a smart decision. We have something similar to this in the States. At a bottle shop, you are not allowed to carry out more than 192 fluid ounces, or 16 beers. Implementing these restrictions in Australia should reduce the consumption of alcohol in the long run. Young adults will have less access to those who could potentially buy them alcohol.
    The screen shot of the video taken from a police car was eye opening. It proved alcohol consumption has gone too far and the Australian government needs to fix the problem. In conclusion, campaigns such as Surfing Australia are great preventative measures to this issue.

    -Robert McDonough

  5. Tara Brzycki says :

    This article was definitely the most interesting article I have read on our class blogs this year. I had no idea that Australia had such a notable binge drinking problem. Many times, I am under the impression that the United States has one of the worst binge drinking problems in the world. I have never quite looked into the reasons or compared the statistics with the statistics of any other country. However, I always assumed it was because our drinking age is higher than the drinking age in most other countries. That being said, hearing that binge drinking is a national issue in Australia was very surprising. When reading the specific example of the town of Ceduna, I could not believe that the binge drinking problem was so bad that it was actually hurting their tourism. The solutions that they implemented were definitely interesting and also showed how serious the problem must have been in Ceduna. While the 2 liters of alcohol per ID every day was a great idea, I can also see how people could easily find a way around that law. I am interested, however, to see if they will be able to pass the other law in order to control binge drinking. It seems like, at least in the town of Ceduna, the alcoholism has a correlation with poverty. However, that is just what the articles and blog post made it sound like. I also liked the part of the article that detailed the campaign that Australia is implementing as a whole. The involvement and support of Surfing Australia show that binge drinking is a national problem in the country, not just a problem in isolated towns, such as Ceduna. Personally, I think that the support of Suring Australia will help to gain the interest of the younger generations, and educating the younger generation is a great way to control the binge drinking problem through out the country.

    Tara Brzycki

  6. Jennifer Lewis says :

    I found this article to be very interesting. I had no idea the problem was this bad in Australia. My friend recently came back from studying abroad in New Zealand and spent some time in Australia as well. She commented that she thought the drinking there was a very large part of the culture, but I just assumed it was similar to the issue here. I had no idea it was actually so bad that it was affecting the country’s tourism. It is very confusing to me that people wander across highways and caused this large of a problem. I guess the highway is just very centrally located? It is incredibly strange though, and awful that police literally have to carry people off of highways who are that drunk.

    The different laws that the government is attempting to put into place all sound good in theory — like the 2 litres per day law — but it is easy to see how people could get around that law and exceed that amount daily. I think the other idea is a great one, and I am interested to see if it will get passed. It does seem ridiculous that if a person is on welfare that they would be able to spend their money on alcohol and supporting their addiction. I believe that welfare should be used for necessary items, such as food and supplies for shelter.

    I had no idea this problem was so widespread across the nation, and I really found this article eye-opening.

  7. clans410 says :

    If the government is concerned with Australian’s drinking habits, it must be a prevalent and serious problem. And, as they’ve enforced, a campaign might be the best way to stop it. A government can establish laws and add taxes and create bans, but, as the Australian officials have found, citizens are taking their abusive alcohol problems and involving other people in their acquiring of it. As a Public Relations major, I’ve studied that campaigns are extremely helpful in raising awareness and are effective for creating social change. A campaign must create an incentive to stop binge drinking, possibly a reward and a motivating reason to change their behaviors. This is the recipe for change. If the campaign is successful, they will see a significant drop in alcohol related crimes, deaths or injuries. This seems pretty similar to Peta’s efforts in the United States, and the causes by multiple European countries to decrease cigarette smoking. Another thing to learn from this is the campaign must establish a logo and feature it in advertisements. Maybe they could even start an educational effort to eliminate alcohol use at a young age, as the Dare program has done in the United States.

    It’s ultimately very important to eliminate this problem in Australia. Unsafe behaviors spurred by drinking can pose serious concerns for their citizens, which is what no country wants to see.

    Post By: Lindsay DeSantis

  8. Kim Valarezo says :

    Binge drinking is always a problem but I did not know that it was at the magnitude that Australia is facing. If the article said that binge drinking was a problem in a focused location, like a college campus, that would make things a bit more understandable but for it to be a common problem throughout the country is insane. Seeing those people drunkenly stumbling on the highway is actually disturbing because they look like walking corpses, or zombies. I think it’s great that the Australian government is trying to curb this horrible problem. What’s better is that they are getting Surfing Australia to support the steps they are taking toward curbing the binge drinking by pulling alcohol sponsorship. Yes, it would be illegal to completely ban liquor so instead, I think that government should make stricter and harsher punishments for any alcohol related problems, such as public drunkenness. Instead of just spending one night in jail, or whatever the penalty is,violators should be severely fined and detained for a longer period of time. If need be, there should be a trial and a set incarceration period. I think this might be the only way to really awaken the Australian people and get them to stop the binge drinking.

  9. alliemarz says :

    I found this article to be very interesting and relevant to our society today. Binge drinking is a major problem in many countries, especially in American college towns. I feel like certain countries in Europe have it right on this one. There was never really a strict drinking age limit, so people were accustomed to alcohol from a very early age and did not feel like they needed to abuse it or that it was anything out of the ordinary. When I went to Italy, this is what many of the people my age told me. It was frowned upon to be visibly drunk in the streets and to cause a scene. The drinking age in Australia is 18, and much like in America on your 21st birthday, I’m sure their 18th birthdays get a little rowdy, to say the least. When people have been waiting so long for a life-changing event, it puts more of a risk when it comes to celebrating it.

    I’m not entirely sure what the solution to this problem would be. I feel that limiting the amount you can purchase per day is a violation of human rights and a complete inconvienance. My friends and I have discussed many times that if there wasn’t a drinking age limit like in many countries in Europe, people wouldn’t be more likely to abuse the privilege. But there’s also the other side of the issue to keep in mind. If people are able to start drinking sooner, could that impose more of a risk on them developing alcohol and body problems? However, as the article states, and as I and many of my friends have done, we would just turn to others to get our alcohol fix if we weren’t able to buy it.

    In Australia’s case, the binge drinking is becoming so big of a problem that tourists are turned off to coming to visit. This definitely means that there should be a change. When you think of beautiful Australia, you don’t want an image of a bunch of drunken idiots running around coming to mind. But people are going to binge drink no matter what; I don’t see that stopping any time soon. I do feel that the campaigns Australia is using is a step in the right direction.

  10. Margaret Wursta says :

    Before reading this blog post, I was unaware of how serious binge drinking is in Australia. I however had many friends that studied abroad there so I had a feel that many Australians liked to drink and drank regularly, but I had no idea how serious the problem has become. If I wouldn’t have read this I would have naturally thought that we here in the United States were the ones that had the “binge drinking problem” however I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone stumbling down the highway before. Reading this article really brought to my attention how many people rely on alcohol to keep them happy. It’s a shame how much people rely in alcohol to have a good time. A good way to stop this as talked about in your post I do believe would be to put restrictions on welfare spending on alcohol. I valid argument would be that it would divide the people, but let’s be honest that happens here in America too, and the people that are usually using the welfare checks or money or whatever it is usually don’t care how much they spend because it’s not their money. So in turn restricting their purchases may curve how much they choose to buy and consume. Also many of the other comments were that it would take away from people rights but I personally feel that it would help, and if anything its worth a shot. I also feel that since Surf Australia has such a huge influence on the youth, participating in helping sober up the country is a huge step in the right direction. Sometimes when such serious issues are brought to your attention through media it hits harder than when your parents or friends say it to you. I hope all this binge drinking in Australia is stopped if not changed soon!

  11. clans410 says :

    This post initially made me laugh because I was picturing State College and students crossing into streets drunk and then I laughed because Australia limited their alcohol sales to 2 liters per person per day. I was shocked because if they are trying to cut down 2 liters is A LOT of alcohol for one person in one day, but then I thought about how inconvenient this would be for someone trying to have a get together or throw a party. I cant believe you can buy alcohol in Australia on welfare money, that’s completely absurd. I would have never expected that Australia had this much of a problem with binge drinking and alcoholism. I think they really need to get stricter laws like not allowing welfare money to be spent on booze.

    Nicole Martin

  12. Sean Coogan says :

    This post was a very interesting read. Alcohol addiction is a problem we have here in the United States and it can be found pretty much anywhere in the world. Binge drinking is something, we as college students, experience at some point in our college experience. It has been the cause of many arrests, violence, and even death here at Penn State.
    It is unbelievable to read about the officer who continuously has to help wandering drunkards off of the highway. A person walking on the highway is not only dangerous for them but also for passengers in vehicles. Someone driving their vehicle may swerve to avoid the person on the highway and end up killing themselves because of it. It was interesting to read how the government tried to intervene by implementing an ID system. When I read the limit of 2 liters of alcohol per person per day I was stunned. I wondered whether they would just allow 2 liters of beer or wine because 2 liters of whiskey or vodka is an extreme amount of alcohol for someone in a day! I picture a 2 liter bottle of soda filled with vodka and it makes me cringe. I thought the government’s plan of limiting welfare recipients to non-booze stores is a great idea. Most upstanding citizens who go to work every day don’t binge drink on a daily basis so the problem is most likely with the impoverished community.
    It was good to see Surfing Australia join the governments “Be the Influence- Tackling Binge Drinking” campaign. Many Australians follow surfing so Surfing Australia is a good outlet to promote such a cause. Binge drinking, and alcoholism as a whole, is a major problem in the world today. It is encouraging to see Australians active in the fight against it.

  13. Samantha Tardif says :

    This is so weird to me that basically a whole population is like this. Clearly we see the same behaviors here but we know that it’s just for this time of your life you’re allowed to binge drink. We know that it ends after graduation. I like that fact that Surfing Australia decided to ban sponsorship from alcohol companies. I actually think the US could take a page out of Australia’s book and ban sponsors like that too. A country concert I go to every year is sponsored by Seagram and at the ticket runs they’d have alcohol there to sample. This year they made ticket runs 21 and older but still. But the idea that a whole community is like this as adults is crazy. Making welfare available for only non-alcohol stores is great. it’s like here how they’re starting to require drug tests for welfare. People in your country shouldn’t be working hard and financing welfare if the people using it are abusing the system and harming themselves and others in the process.

  14. Prianka Gomes says :

    I find it disturbing that an entire area in Australia would be afflicted with the same social issue of binge drinking, although alcohol is indeed a drug and no different than how certain U.S cities have prevalent crack cocaine problems. If we are to notice anything from our own culture it is that there are ways around almost any law, though usually outright disobedience is the result. Limiting or banning alcohol will not work (see: U.S prohibition).

    The idea that welfare, which is given to people so that they may “make ends meet” and survive, should be able to buy alcohol is ridiculous. This sees to be an issue for both the U.S and Australia, where people believe that the free tax-payer money they are receiving should be capable of buying anything with a price tag. It’s insulting to the tax-payers. There are ways around that, too, though. Welfare recipients whose money can’t be used on alcohol will simply approach someone with money and make an exchange by buying said person the goods they want and taking cash in return to fund their addiction.

    That being said, I am impressed that the government took initiative with the support of the people to launch a social campaign as a means to curb the issue from the source as well as influencing those who have been binge drinking for years. This form of communication from the government, big name celebrities, and regular citizens has a chance to make a much larger impact than simply banning it, creating a law, and hoping it goes away. It is a positive message rather than a negative one. When a problem arises and it’s discovered that it begins from youth, the logical reaction would be to focus the attention on the youth. Now just to get many of the other countries to follow suit with this communication ideology, we might see many problems fade, if not disappear entirely.

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