About the campaign
Here you will find additional background information on the National Binge Drinking Strategy.
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Alcohol-related harm is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in Australia, causing around 3,000 deaths and 65,000 hospitalisations every year.8
In 2004-05, the annual cost to the Australian community of alcohol-related social problems was estimated at $15.3 billion.9
After tobacco, alcohol is the second largest contributor to drug-related harm in Australia, causing harmful effects in both the short and longer term.10
Short term (acute harm) relates to the risk of immediate harms from alcohol such as accidents, injuries and physical harms, often associated with drinking to intoxication, whilst longer term (chronic harm) reflects the detrimental effects on the body of the prolonged use of alcohol.
Overall the main causes of alcohol-related deaths are cancer, alcoholic liver cirrhosis and road trauma, although the proportions of these vary by life stage. Younger people are more likely to die from bouts of intoxication or road trauma, while older people are more likely to die from conditions related to long-term alcohol misuse.11
Alcohol has become more readily accessible over the past two decades, and harms resulting from drinking among young people have increased throughout the 1990s. For example, looking at all the harms experienced by young people 15-34 years of age, alcohol is responsible for more drug-related deaths and hospitalisations than all illicit drugs grouped together, and many more than tobacco.12
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The National Binge Drinking Campaign
On 10 March 2008, the Australian Government announced the $53.5 million National Binge Drinking Strategy to address the high levels of binge drinking among young Australians. Binge drinking among young people is a community wide problem that demands a community wide response, including an emphasis on young people taking greater personal responsibility for their behaviour.
The campaign includes a $20 million hard-hitting social marketing campaign that will run over two years to confront young people about the costs and consequences of binge drinking.
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Who is the campaign for and why?
The campaign’s primary target audiences
are teenagers aged 15-17 and young adults aged 18-25 years.
Evidence shows that a high proportion of the alcohol consumed by both adolescent and young adult drinkers is at risky and high risk levels. For these reasons, 15-17 year olds and 18-25 year olds represent important target audiences for a campaign targeting the harms associated with binge drinking.
The secondary target audience
is parents of 13-17
While many parents believe they cannot influence their teenagers’ drinking, teenagers look to their parents to provide guidance and set boundaries of acceptable behaviour with respect to drinking alcohol.
Campaign objectivesThe main objective of the National Binge Drinking Campaign is to contribute, along with the range of existing education, policy and regulatory initiatives, to a reduction in harm associated with drinking to intoxication amongst young Australians.
The strategic approach of the campaign is to focus on short term (acute) harms, as these are the most relevant to episodes of intoxicated drinking, to:
1. Raise awareness of the harms and costs associated with drinking to intoxication, for example:
2. Deliver personally relevant messages to encourage, motivate and support the primary target groups to:
- road accidents (and death/severe injury);
- alcohol-related violence (as a perpetrator, a victim or a witness);
- trauma-related admissions to hospital emergency departments;
- unsafe sex and risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and/or unwanted pregnancy; and
- social and personal consequences such as impact on families and social embarrassment.
- Increase, amongst young people and their parents, perceptions of the possibility of personally experiencing these potentially negative outcomes from intoxication, as well as increasing personal perceptions of the seriousness of these outcomes.
3. Deliver personally relevant messages to encourage, motivate and support the secondary target group to:
- reconsider the acceptability of the harms and costs associated with drinking to intoxication;
- assess their own drinking behaviour; and
- make changes to their own behaviours where necessary.
- examine their own attitudes and behaviour around alcohol consumption (including the way they talk about drinking to intoxication);
- talk to their children about alcohol use, misuse and the consequences of drinking to intoxication; and
- to model appropriate behaviour for their children around alcohol use.
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The National Binge Drinking Campaign and key tagline ‘Don’t turn a night out into a nightmare’ is designed to encourage teenagers and young adults to think about the choices they make about drinking, and particularly the possible negative consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking can lead to alcohol related harm. This harm may include health problems, injury, violence and social problems including the breakdown of relationships. Specifically, the campaign messages include:
Teenagers aged 15-17 years and young adults aged 18-25 years
- Drinking to intoxication can lead to socially unacceptable behaviour and consequences that are regrettable; and
- Avoiding drinking to intoxication can have a range of social and health benefits.
Parents of 13-17 year olds
- Parents and carers have a role in educating their teenage children about the possible consequences of excessive drinking and in setting clear behavioural boundaries; and
- Teenagers generally look to parents and carers for support and direction.
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Other components of the National Binge Drinking Strategy
The campaign is an integral part of the National Binge Drinking Strategy, which also includes:
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- A $7.2 million million grants-based program to support community partnerships with sporting and other non-governmental organisations will seek to positively influence environments that can shape the culture of binge drinking among young people;
- $5.2 million will be invested in a significant expansion of the Good Sports initiative of the Australian Drug Foundation – to support local sporting clubs to build a culture of responsible drinking at the grassroots level; and
- $19.1 million to support innovative early intervention and diversion programs to identify young people under 18 years who have been involved in an alcohol-related incident. This initiative would aim to intervene before more serious alcohol-related problems emerge.Back to Top