Campaign tackles binge drinking



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A new campaign has been launched in New South Wales aimed at curbing binge drinking.

The $1 million anti-binge drinking campaign “What Are You Doing To Yourself?” targets the 16-20 year old age group and aims to stop young people from engaging in risky behaviour which is fuelled by alcohol.

The campaign includes advertisements to be displayed on public transport, in cafes and in pub toilets, shows young people in social environments and demonstrates how getting drunk can change personalities and behaviour and will target six areas across the state, including inner-city Sydney, the eastern beaches, the northern beaches, Parramatta, Newcastle and Orange.

According to NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca, figures show an 130% increase in alcohol-related emergency department admissions since 2000 mostly among 18-24 year olds and the campaign aims to prompt a cultural change in young people’s attitude to risky drinking.

Mr Della Bosca says the campaign’s key message is that everyone has to take personal responsibility for their own behaviour when socialising but the launch comes at the same time as a new beverage aimed at younger drinkers hits the market that is designed to bypass the federal government’s alcopop laws.

Apparently the Smirnoff Platinum drink which looks like a vodka mixer, contains six per cent alcohol, and is actually a mutant beer, which means it evades the alcopop tax on pre-mix spirits increasing their cost by around 70%.

The Health Minister has targeted alcohol manufacturers and says the way they advertise their products is harmful and says approximately 264 young Australians between the age of 15-24 die every year as the result of risky alcohol consumption.

Former Olympian 29 year old Geoff Huegill says he supports the project and says athletes have not always set the best example for young people when it comes to binge drinking.

He says he has himself changed his ways and has cut out irresponsible drinking as part of his swimming comeback plan and wants to encourage young people to follow his lead.

The campaign has the support of DrinkWise Australia, a not-profit organisation aimed at promoting safe drinking habits.

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