Thursday, 12 June 2008

The Australian Newspaper At It's Worst

News Ltd has sunk even further into disrepute with their latest attempt to fuel binge drinking sensationalism. News Ltd are notorious for drug and alcohol hysteria but The Australian has topped them all by changing an article after it was published and removed sections that down play the supposed increase of youth alcohol consumption. A report in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health has shown that youth drinking trends haven’t really changed at all in recent years which The Australian reported on. But by mid morning, the web version had a completely different take on the report. The headline was originally, “Studies find no sharp lift in risky drinking, but more drunk youths go to hospital” but ended up with a more dramatic headline, “Binge-drinking linked to increase in harm”, sans the main point of the article. The second, revised article removes all references to the main findings of the report that drinking levels have only increased in a small section of 12-24 year olds. It also removes all the references to the author of the report and instead cherry picks comments from other third party commentators who support their own position. 

I have to say, this is the most blatant act of biased reporting I have ever seen in Australia. So much for The Australian being a reputable news source. It really sums up how far some will go to push their agenda by simply not telling the whole story. When it comes to alcohol or drugs, News Ltd have shown repeatedly that they will do whatever it takes to push misinformation onto the public with disgraceful manipulation of the truth and the most dubious examples of junk science.

Paper Version

Studies find no sharp lift in risky drinking, but more drunk youths go to hospital

June 10, 2008

Lenore Taylor National correspondent

EXCESSIVE alcohol consumption by young people has not increased significantly in recent years, but there has been a rise in the small minority who are drinking to the point of hospitalisation.

A new analysis of six studies into youth drinking behaviour in Victoria, to be published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health , found ‘‘ few significant trends and almost no notable increases in risky drinking in recent years’’ among Victorians aged 12-24.

But the study, by Michael Livingston, of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, did find a ‘‘ deeply concerning’’ sharp increase in the small numbers of young drinkers in Victoria being hospitalised because of their alcohol consumption.

For women aged 18-24, the rate of alcohol-caused hospital admissions rose from six per 10,000 people in 1998-99 to 14.6 per 10,000 in 2005-06.

The study says the data could mean that ‘‘ while the proportion of young people drinking at levels that exceed the national Health and Medical Research Council guidelines hasn’t changed markedly, more young people are drinking at extremely high levels and thus ending up in hospital’’.

The findings will add to the controversy about the Government’s recent tax hike on readyto-drink alcoholic drinks, or socalled alcopops, which it justified on the basis of a widespread increase in binge-drinking.

According to Mr Livingston, who submitted his paper to the journal before the alcopops controversy, his findings on extreme drinking behaviour could require public health intervention. He said increased alcohol taxes were ‘‘ the best supported method of reducing alcohol-related harm’’.

Michael Moore, chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia, said the paper ‘‘ added to the evidence’’ that supported the Rudd Government’s policy of tackling bingedrinking.

‘‘ It’s really clear from this research that there has been a significant increase in young women engaged in extremely harmful use of alcohol and that the problem is at such a level that governments need to take drastic action,’’ he said.

But the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently told a Senate inquiry that consumption trends for RTD alcohol among under-18s were ‘‘ unclear’’.

The Opposition has claimed the alcopops tax rise is a revenueraising measure dressed up as a public health measure. The increase in the tax on alcopops is expected to earn the Government an extra $3.1 billion in revenue over five years.

The Opposition has said it will seek to block the measure in the Senate.

Web Version

Binge-drinking linked to increase in harm

June 10, 2008

BINGE drinking is being blamed for a dramatic increase in alcohol-related harm among young people.

Data published today in the latest Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health shows an upward trend in alcohol-related harm among young people aged 16 and above.

The hospital and emergency data show substantial increases in harm among young people - both male and female - between 16 and 24, and particularly sharp increases among females aged 18 to 24.

The figures reinforce Federal Government concerns about the problem of binge drinking which have led to an increase in the excise on so-called alcopops.

The Federal Government raised the tax on alcopops by 70 per cent in late April, describing the move as a preventative health measure.

Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) chief executive Michael Moore said the latest data confirmed an alarming trend in terms of teenage drinking.

"It is particularly worrying that surveys show increasing proportions of young people drinking until they can't remember what happened," Mr Moore said.

"These findings are deeply concerning, suggesting that increasing numbers of young people are experiencing severe alcohol related problems, like hospitalisation."

Mr Moore said the increasing trends in alcohol-related harms for young people confirmed the need for immediate public health interventions.

"The Australian Government's decision to fast-track the development of the national binge drinking strategy is certainly a step in the right direction," he said.

The PHAA would continue to support the Federal Government's efforts to develop new policy measures designed to reduce alcohol-related harm to both young people and the broader community, Mr Moore said.


Gledwood said...

did they pick up that binge drink stuff from the British press? or vice versa? or in parallel..??

they're all over binge drinking here though I must say young people DO appear to be more into drink than when I was little. though I grew up in my teens deep in the country where drinking was extremely popular among the under-aged! bigbigBIGtime!!

Terry Wright said...

Howdy Gledwood
Our new PM is one of those social engineers and his bug at the moment is binge drinking, which really means getting drunk. It's everywhere here as well.

Jack Dorf said...

Gledwood, it is interesting that you have picked up on this parallel campaign. A couple of months ago our deputy opposition leader made some comments in this interview (last paragraph)regarding the binge drinking campaigns in the UK & Australia. Loath that I am to even quote a Tory, I was even more shocked to actually find myself agreeing with her on this.

Lets face it people drink, often to excess and governments have a long history of trying to curb our enthusiasm for a drop or 200.

While the media love nothing more than compulsively pushing that big moral panic button on the side of their keyboards.

Terry Wright said...

"While the media love nothing more than compulsively pushing that big moral panic button on the side of their keyboards."

How true.

Spoken like a gentleman Jack.

Anonymous said...

It is quite clear nowadays that there is an increase in the number of young people involved in binge drinking and alcoholism, which is alarming due to the facts presented. With this kind of dilemma spreading today, parents must teach their children as early as possible about the dangers of alcohol, in order for the kids to avoid unnecessary problems in the future.