Alcohol consumption and misuse – Australia

Consumption of alcohol and its misuse is a problem of concern in Australia. According to the 2014 report provided by The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, indicate that the rate of hospitalization related to alcohol use has risen annually in the last decade from 200 to 270 hospitalizations per 100,000 (AIHW, 2014). The report also highlights people that are abused as a result of alcohol abuse (4.5% to 8.1%) and those that leave in fear (13.1% to 14.3%)

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance and its consumption in moderation can lead to feelings of relaxation and euphoria, causing it to be consumed widely in many social scenarios and across the socio-economic spectrum. Alcohol is also an addictive drug, however, and its misuse is associated with a wide range of dose-related adverse consequences that can lead to significant harm to the individual and society

British Medical Association (2008)

Alcohol in Australia is an integral part of life in this country. Its production and consumption play a great role in the Australian economy from employment, regional development, national output and the public budget National Health and Medical Research Council (2007). If alcohol is consumed in moderation, it is enjoyable for most of the Australian community and even it has some health benefits. However, alcohol has it disadvantages with its consumption being related to a number of problems like, health issues, reduced life expectancy, reduced productivity, accidents and violence. According to Collins and Lapsley(2008), the social cost of alcohol abuse in Australia in the years 2004 and 2005 was over $15billion dollars. Generally, alcoholism is an issue of concern around the world, especially in countries with majority of its young people taking alcohol.

The research is aimed at evaluating a health promotion campaign on alcohol use and abuse. In this promotion plan, literature on this subject area is reviewed; the problem of alcohol of the target people in the promotions is also discussed. Moreover, the effectiveness of the health promotion plan is also discussed where factors that contribute to a successful health plan are discussed with the help of information provided VicHealth promotion campaign that took place between Sept-Dec 2014. The paper also looks at mental health promotion intervention that is taken by the nurses and the patients together with their family to ensure the success of the campaign. Lastly, the paper provides the conclusion for the evaluation and implementation of the health promotion campaign.

Health Promotion Campaign

Literature on alcohol use and abuse in Australia

The use of alcohol in Australia is a practiced that is socially accepted and a part of cultural practice in the country (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2005). The council also provides the statistics also provides the difference that exists within the population in terms of drug and alcohol abuse. Alcohol use and misuse is associated with youth suicide and depression (Adams &Hodges, 2005). Also it is reported that alcohol use and misuse in Australia is the most significant drug in regards to road trauma, violence and property crime (Adam & Hodges, 2005).

Alcohol use has also been complicated in Australia as a result of group drinking and heavy drinking interaction with the kinship. The social effects like unemployment, boredom, social and personal isolation are also contributing factors to increased alcohol use and misuse in Australia (Fergusson et al. 2005).

On the other hand the use of alcohol also comes with a cost to the Australian authority, for instance in 2004 and 2005 the aggregate cost of alcohol abuse is estimated to have cost the Australian economy $15 billion (Collins & Lapsley, 2008). These costs were in terms of mortality, morbidity, health costs, productivity at the work place, crime rate and road traffic accidents.

From the VicHealth’s research it is clear that drinking is normal in Australia in most social situations like funerals,, children birthdays and many other social gatherings. With the only place where alcohol is not served being church, baby showers and study group. The cultural view on the issue of alcohol use and misuse is a contributing factor to having young people getting involved in the habit of drinking.

In general, alcohol use is caused by both internal and external factors. The external factors in this case include both the physical or structural environment. For instance, the number of alcohol outlets, the drinking environment and the legal restrictions that is available in a given country (Anderson, &Baumberg, 2006). The internal factors on the other hand include; individuals’ belief, attitudes, values, personality life experience and morality.

Problem of alcohol in people aged 16 to 28

The health promotion plan campaign is aimed at addressing the problem of alcohol use and misuse among the youth (16 to 28 years). Research has shown that there is a change in pattern in the groups that are considered to be at a high of alcohol abuse with an upward trend from middle and older men to younger men (3.5%) and younger women (2.2%) (AIHW, 2005). Young people aged 16 to 28 are the most influenced when it comes to the issue of alcohol use and misuse. This group of individuals normally gets pressure from friends to take alcohol even when they had no prior plan of getting drunk.

From a survey done by Maloney et al. (2010) showed that 17-34% of dependent children from Australia are raised in an environment with heavy drinking habits. Having these children in such an environment increases the chances of them engaging in the use of alcohol when they are still young (Maloney et al., 2010). Other factors that lead to young people using alcohol include easy access, report that encourages use of alcohol, family breakdown and single parenthood, neglect from society and unemployment. (Balsa, & French, 2012).

Effectiveness of the health promotion campaign

The health promotion campaign was informed by VicHealth study which showed that young Victorian were more likely react positively to drunkenness compared to those people that arte 30 years of age and above. Additionally, the study showed that this age group feels pressure to drink around other drinkers. Furthermore, the VicHealth study show that 61% of youth who go out normally have no intention of drinking (Jamison & Myers, 2008). Therefore most of the people aged 16 to 28 years, normally drink not with the intention of getting drunk but instead they get pressured by their peers to drink more than they intended to drink (Cagney & Shane. (2007). The health promotion campaign was dubbed The No Excuse Needed Campaign where its aim was to motivate youths to think about why they make excuses to drink and why they also put pressure on others to drink alcohol. The target of this campaign was to ensure that it reduces the importance of alcohol in young people of Victoria.

For a health promotion campaign to be effective there are a number of factors to be put into consideration to ensure its success. First factor is based on the participants. Here those whom the campaign is targeting should be involved in the promotion campaign (Roberts &Bewley, Trace, 2005). In this case the young people aged 16 to 28 years, policy makers and health professionals.

Secondly, the campaign should use a variety of methods. This means that the evaluation of the promotion plan should be drawn from different disciplines as well as a variety information gathering procedures. Therefore for the campaign on alcohol use and misuse enough information on this topic should be gathered so as for the target group to be informed on the underlying facts of the problem.

The third factor that contributes to the successful health promotion plan is by enhancing capacity building. This means that the health promotion campaign put in place should be able to enhance the capacity of individuals (people aged 16 to 28 years) and the whole community as a whole.

Lastly, the health promotion campaign should be designed in a manner that it can be designed to accommodate the complex nature of the health promotion intervention and the long term impacts that are associated with it (Kypri, 2008). Therefore, if a health promotion is created putting in mind the appropriateness of the campaign then the chances of it succeeding is high.

How were the objectives of the Campaign met successfully? The objective of VicHealth in partnership with the state Government was to reduce the broad acceptance of drunkenness among the young people. For this objective to be attained the campaign activities were placed in two phases. The first phase was called Name ThatPoint where the young people were involved in an open discussion on the role of alcohol in their lives. The force behind this idea was that if the young people recognized this point then they will make informed decision about drinking. The second phase was dubbed No Excuse needed where the ideas from the first face were used to make a mass media campaign on alcohol use and misuse. With the target of the campaign being the young people aged 16 to 29 the objective was successful met because the right people that were focused on were involved in the campaign.

Theories and literature on alcohol use and misuse contributes a great deal to the success of a health promotion campaign like the one initiated by VicHealth study. Following the release of a report on alcoholism in 2002 by National Institution on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) called A Call to action that was aimed at changing the drinking culture of US student a successful health campaign can be derived from the findings. Using the model that was provided in this research a health promotion campaign on alcohol use and misuse can be created basing on the three main issues. According to Fell et al. (2008) the three issues are; the scope of the problem, identifying programs for the young people involved in drinking and recommending strategies that improve the prevention effort. When the campaign focuses in this three areas it would successfully implement its objective.

Secondly research has also supported the 3-in-1 overarching framework. This framework is important in designing a health promotion campaign because it provides direction on who and what should be included in the framework (Aggleton & Ball 2006). In this case the three parts the campaign should cover for it to be successful includes; individuals who are at risk or those that are alcohol dependent drinkers, the young people aged 26-28 and the surrounding community. In cooperating the three areas will ensure that no loop hole is left in the campaign.

Some of the literature on alcohol use and misuse provide statistics on the number of individuals who are affected with the problem of alcohol. From the statistic in this case for young people in Australia, the health promotion campaign can be designed knowing specifically for a certain group of people. This will be successful because when creating the campaign the exact number of individuals will be known thus, it will not be limited and information will reach the right group of persons.

Mental Health Promotion intervention

Mental health promotion intervention is important in health program because it provides a platform on how some health problems like alcohol use and misuse can be resolved. Here are three intervention plans that a nurse together with the patient and the family affected by alcohol can implement. The first intervention will be aimed at convey an attitude of acceptance (Chisholm et al., 2007). This intervention ensures that the patient is not involved in any unacceptable behavior. Building an attitude of acceptance by the patient is the fast step to healing. As a nurse one should show courtesy and respect to the patient. Through this the patients are able to feel a sense of self-worth and dignity. On the patients family side they will feel to have a sense of peace because of the new attitude acquired by the patients.

The second intervention will be for the nurse to find out the reason for the patient deciding to begin abstinence and start therapy. This intervention criterion is important because it provides more information on how much the patient is willing to commit to long term change in behavior. The intervention helps the patient believe that they are ready to change. When patients have the urge to change the alcohol use behavior then the family of the patient is there to support the patient change their behavior (Hutchinson et al., 2008).

The last intervention a nurse can take is helping the patient confront and examine denial and rationalize in peer groups. The approach to this by nurses is through care so as the patient does not feel out of place. Research has shown that denial is the major defense mechanism to those people that are addicts (Bassani et al., 2009). Therefore, being able to confront the situation becomes help full to the patient and their family because it helps them accept the reality of the adverse effect of alcohol use and misuse. Thus, nurses caring attitude help in reserving self-concept hence reducing the defensive response.


Alcohol use and misuse is a problem in many countries. Controlling such issue in countries that view taking alcohol as a normal thing for people to do becomes difficult to control the use and misuse of alcohol. Australia is one such state with this idea. The youth aged 16 to 28 are the most vulnerable when it comes to alcohol use. For the problem to be control, health promotion plans on alcohol use and misuse have been designed in Australia. One such campaign was done by the VicHealth study through the collaboration of the State organization that target young people aged 16 to 28.

When creating a health promotion it is important to study the literature and theories surrounding the topic under interest. With the knowledge from this literatures then it becomes simple for one to come up with a successful health promotion campaign. Through this campaign a change in behavior from the people who have been targeted is attained. Moreover, health promotion campaigns are a starting point for a reformed society and culture.

Mental health promotion intervention is also an important way of dealing with the issue of alcohol use and misuse. Here the health provider (nurse), the patient and the family of the patient are the important individuals that take part in this intervention promotion. Following the right intervention procedures ensures that the mental health promotion is a success. All the three stakeholders have to take part in this promotion for it to work effectively.

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