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Heavy alcohol consumption is a significant issue in Australia, particularly in Queensland. The issue also affects the young generation as the median drinking age in Queensland State is fourteen. The majority of Queenslanders have given up on the government’s initiatives to deal with the problem. The alcohol management campaign aims to improve the safety and overall well-being of the Queensland community. The strategies used to achieve the objective are changing the taxation rules, limiting the physical availability of alcohol, management of the marketing avenues of liquor, and informing the public about the dangers of excessive alcohol intake. The channels to be used for the campaign are social media and the press (TV, radio, and newspapers). These avenues will communicate the campaign messages to Queenslanders. The audience will include the whole community since alcohol abuse affects everybody. The campaign will involve the local people, government officials, media houses, and the police. The operation will lead to improved health, reduced crime rates, and reduced alcohol intake among the youth. However, the initiative suffers from inadequate funding, limited media choices, and a small number of active members. The most significant threat to the campaign will come from alcohol suppliers and marketing companies in Queensland.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a significant issue in the country, more so in Queensland. Most people in Queensland believe that the country (Australia) suffers from excessive alcohol consumption, while 10% do not believe this to be true and the remaining 10% is not sure about the situation. The paper addresses the concerns of the community in Queensland as 81% of the population states that there should be an initiative to reduce the alcohol-related harm such as death, injury, and health complications (Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 2017, p. 2). These figures are based on 2017 polls. 73% of Queensland’s population believes that issues related to excessive alcohol consumption will remain the same or get worse in the next five or ten years, while 17% expect a reduction and 10% are not sure. Apart from this, most Queenslanders do not believe that the government (66%), alcohol firms (71%), as well as clubs and pubs (67%), are making enough progress to address the issue. An important factor to consider is the fact that the number of people who have lost hope in the government’s efforts to reduce excessive alcohol intake in Queensland has increased since 2016 (Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 2017, p. 2).
The primary message of the campaign is to make the State of Queensland safer and healthier. High alcohol consumption in Queensland results in violence, accidental injuries, increased crime rates (especially at night), and various health complications. The campaign will urge the Queensland community to come together and fight against high alcohol intake in the state.
The objectives of the initiative are to reduce alcohol consumption in Queensland through the reduction of trading hours, limiting outlet venues, increasing the price of alcohol, educating the public about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, and ensuring of responsible services. The campaign will include the whole community as alcoholism has an impact on everyone in the society, either directly or indirectly.
Strategies to Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Increasing the price of alcohol will reduce its consumption and eventually its harmful effects on the population. The cost of alcohol in Australia is higher than in other developed nations due to high living costs. However, the taxation policy for liquor encourages heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. The country’s alcohol taxation accounts for $6 billion of the government’s revenue. However, the system is inconsistent and complicated as it depends on various factors such as packaging while some forms of alcohol are subjected to a concessional rate (Howard, Gordon & Jones, 2014). The best method of taxation that would reduce the harmful effects of heavy alcohol consumption is using the alcohol content to determine the amount of taxes paid. The plan will ensure that drinks with high alcohol content are expensive while those with low contents are cheaper. Hence, encouraging the general population to buy drinks with less adverse health and social impacts.
The physical availability of alcohol in Queensland can also be reduced through licensing. The licensing of outlets that sell alcohol, as well as stating the conditions for the licensing will reduce alcohol consumption. The government should ensure that every individual who wants to buy alcohol should possess an Id to prevent the sale of the beverage to people under the age of eighteen (Martineau, Graff, Mitchell & Lock, 2013, p.438). The law should completely restrict the provision of alcoholic beverages to minors, either in public or under the supervision of their guardians. According to statistics, the average drinking age of Australians in fourteen, which is a sad situation. A teenage population with a high number of drunkards puts the future of Queensland in jeopardy as they are the leaders, workers, and parents of the next generation. Also, there should be no alcohol selling outlets or clubs/ pubs within two hundred meters from educational institutions or residential areas. The location of a club near people’s homes makes it easier for people to engage in excessive drinking since they do not have to walk a long distance to purchase it. The State of Queensland should also ban the consumption of alcohol in public places during the day. Public drinking should only be allowed from 5 pm, and end at 6 am. The move will reduce the consumption of alcohol during work hours and therefore enhance the productivity of the Queensland community.
Moreover, the State of Queens should have control over the alcohol marketing strategies used to attract customers as these influence purchasing behaviours. Presently, there are no bans regarding alcohol advertising in Australia (Howard et al., 2015). The state should restrict alcohol advertisements on TV to between 9 pm, and 6 am since most school-going children do not watch TV during these hours. The advertisers should also be required to inform the public about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption in their marketing strategies and the packaging. The ads should not have people dressed in skimpy outfits to uphold the country’s family values.
The campaign will also include teaching the public about the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Among teenagers, alcohol leads to reduced class performance since it affects their concentration in class, as well as their ability to remember the educational content. Another impact of alcohol on students is truancy because they will spend time engaging in drinking alcohol instead of going to school, as well as nursing hangovers. The consumption of alcohol among a group of people without any responsibilities (such as teenagers) leads to the misuse of the drug because they are not afraid of losing their jobs and their reputation in the society. Excessive alcohol consumption also leads to liver disease and pancreatic complications. Alcohol also increases the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. When combined with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet comprising of high fat, sugar, and salt contents, the person is likely to develop diabetes type 2 or hypertension. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy may cause low birth weight or deformities in the baby (Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, 2001, p. 27).
Furthermore, alcoholism may lead to the disruption of families and problems at the workplace. The person (parent) will spend a large portion of the family income on alcohol instead of paying for household utilities and other bills. Alcoholic partners rarely spend time with their spouses and children and may lead to the break-up of families through divorce. Heavy alcohol intake is also responsible for some cases of domestic violence. (Ronald, 2017, p. 19)At the workplace, high alcohol consumption may endanger the user and his/ her colleagues if they drive or work with heavy machinery. The person will also become less productive due to the reduction of the brain’s processing, which causes poor concentration and decision-making abilities.
The primary channels of the campaign are media, i.e., the press and social media. The local TV and radio stations will have the presenters tell the public about the dangers of excessive alcohol intake through short, relatable stories. The print media (newspapers) will place ads warning the community about the same. The social media campaign will include sending messages through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The alcohol management initiative will set up accounts in those platforms and include information about its objectives, activities, and venues for meetings. Hashtags will be used on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to attract a large following.
Alcohol consumption affects the whole society. Therefore, the campaign targets the entire Queensland community. The initiative will present its solutions to the issue to various agencies and people who influence regulations in the state. They include government representatives such as the Attorney General and the Minister of Health in Queensland. The police will also be a part of the audience since they have the alcohol-related crime statistics and will play a significant force in ensuring that alcohol suppliers adhere to the new regulations (if the government accepts the strategies). The police will then release reports comparing the number of crimes in Queensland before and after the implementation of the alcohol management strategies. The main media outlets in Queensland is also an essential part of the campaign as they have direct access to the community. They include ABC News, Bayside Bulletin, 9 News, and Commercial Radio Australia.
There is a public outcry about excessive consumption of alcohol in the country, particularly in Queensland. Polls indicate that the people no longer believe in the presence of any strategies to provide a solution to the problem. Therefore, the campaign will receive a lot of support from the community.
The campaign also targets to improve the health and overall well-being of the Queensland community. After the drive, the people will be more informed about the adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption and the government, as well as other organisations linked to the issue will increase their efforts to support the anti-alcoholism campaign.
Apart from this, the campaign will use social media as one of the core channels for spreading its message. The widespread use of social media will enable the initiative to reach a large audience since technological advancement has made people spend a lot of time on their smartphones.
The campaign is made up of a small number of people, which may hinder its effectiveness due to the limited workforce. The members are too few to cover the various target audiences in Queensland and convince them of the benefits often initiative within a limited time.
There is also a limit to the media choices that the campaign can use to spread its message. Very few media outlets will be willing to give the campaign the platform it needs to spread its message, more so due to the small number of participants and the lack of links to authoritative figures such as local politicians and other influential leaders.
Also, the shortage of finances to manage the campaign may hurt its effectiveness. A successful crusade requires money for equipment (e.g., posters), transportation, food, and other requirements. The use of public grounds for the movement may attract a cost from the state. Posting the message on banners in public areas also needs money.
The campaign will reduce the number of crimes related to alcohol consumption. Drunkards often commit crimes such as assault and robbery so they can afford the drug. In some cases, drunk individuals become aggressive with their families (spouses and children) and may inflict bodily harm.
Additionally, the campaign will reduce the risk of alcohol abuse among young people, more so underage students. The future of Queensland and the whole country depends on the wellbeing of young people. Therefore, reduced alcohol consumption among the youth will lead to future prosperity.
The biggest threat to the campaign are alcohol suppliers in Queensland as the success of the campaign will lead to the reduction of their earnings. Marketing companies that cater to alcohol suppliers may also try to sabotage the campaign.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 2017. Queensland Poll: Perspectives on Alcohol-Related Violence and Policies.
Martineau, F.P., Graff, H., Mitchell, C., and Lock, K., 2013. Responsibility without Legal Authority? Tackling Alcohol-Related Health Harms through Licensing and Planning Policy in Local Government. Journal of Public Health, 36(3), pp. 435-442.
Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, 2001. National Alcohol Strategy A Plan for Action 2001 to 2003-04.
Ronald, L. S., 2017. Alcohol, Women, and Domestic Violence. Women's Health, 3(3), pp. 18-21.
Steven, J. Howard., Gordon, Ross., and Sandra, C., Jones. 2014. Australian Alcohol Policy 2001–2013 and Implications for Public Health. BMC Public Health, 14(848).
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