The effect of alcohol sales and advertising restrictions on a remote Australian community

Richard Midford, Deidra Young, Tanya Chikritzhs, Denese Playford, Elaine Kite, Richard Pascal

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    Abstract

    Aim: To evaluate the effect of restricting hours of sale for take-away alcohol, container sizes for beverages linked to risky consumption and advertising and promotion of certain high-strength beverages on community attitudes, consumption and proxy measures of related harm in a small remote community with high levels of problematic use.
    Methods: Community surveys were undertaken in the intervention community and an adjacent control community immediately prior to the introduction of the mandated restrictions and again 12 months later. Pre and post interviews were conducted with key informants in the intervention community at approximately the same times. Serial consumption and proxy harm data were collected from both intervention and control communities and changes measured over the period that voluntary and then mandatory restrictions were introduced.
    Findings: There was recognition of a substantial community alcohol problem. This was accompanied by good knowledge of, and support for, the nominated restrictions prior to their mandated introduction. Subsequently, there was little opposition to their ongoing operation. Consumption of the most problematic beverage, cask wine, has reduced. Proxy measures of alcohol harm: night-time hospital accident and emergency occasions of service; trauma-related ambulance call outs; and police-attended disturbances, also declined. Much of this change was associated with earlier, voluntary restrictions.
    Conclusions: The restrictions have had a beneficial effect, but most of this occurred prior to their mandated introduction. Continuing to mandate compliance is, however, important because it validates community action, crystallizes structural change and provides a basis for further local initiatives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-41
    Number of pages21
    JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
    Volume17
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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    Midford, R., Young, D., Chikritzhs, T., Playford, D., Kite, E., & Pascal, R. (2010). The effect of alcohol sales and advertising restrictions on a remote Australian community. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 17(1), 21-41.