Community Alcohol Action Network (CAAN)

This is a great website full of resources about the effects of alcohol; especially on young people.  Its aim is to equip people at a local level to help them change the drinking culture we have in Australia – to make it a safer environment for people to drink.

CAAN works to reduce cultural pressures that encourage Australians to drink unsafely. They include the alcohol industries’ marketing strategies, popular culture’s celebration of binge drinking, and social expectations that lead to complacency regarding alcohol problems.

CAAN’s strategy includes alerting the media, the public, and policy makers to:
• aggressive marketing and promotion of alcohol
• failure of the codes that regulate alcohol advertising
• encouragement of unsafe drinking via popular media
• violation of licensing regulations (e.g. free drinks, drinking competitions)
• development of dangerous products (e.g. ‘super strength’ pre-mixed drinks), and
• the need for greater controls over availability.

The website has great facts and figures on the following topics:
Alcohol and its effects – the liver breaks down 91% of alcohol.
Standard drinks – a standard drink is defined as one that contains 10 grams of pure alcohol.
Minimising the risks from drinking – we know that drinking too much alcohol can cause problems, but how much is too much?
How to drink less– how to pace yourself, monitor your alcohol consumption and make healthy choices during a night out.
Alcohol Use in Australia – facts and statistics about the prevalence of alcohol use in Australia.
Alcohol – Recent Reports and Research.

Our drinking culture
Parents and teachers alike have all expressed a sense of helplessness about underage drinking, in the face of strong social and cultural pressures to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Young people’s opinions and acceptance of alcohol are guided by the beliefs and expectations of the society they live in.

Australian society embraces alcohol and has always done so. Excessive alcohol consumption is not frowned upon. In fact, it is celebrated and plays an important role in many of our social customs. We tolerate heavy and unsafe drinking including underage drinking, sending a message to our young people that it is acceptable for them to drink.

The alcohol industry feeds this culture, last year alone the Foster’s Group spent $30-35 million on advertisements. In addition to that, alcohol companies invest millions of dollars each year in sponsorship. Most national sports teams and sports events in Australia are sponsored by alcohol brands.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: Community Alcohol Action Network (CAAN)