Drinking ourselves to an early death
MORE South Gippslanders are at risk of harm from excessive alcohol consumption than the Victorian average.
That was the message delivered to the public at a forum in Mirboo North last Wednesday evening.
The Reducing Harm from Alcohol and Gambling information session was held by South Gippsland Shire Council at Baromi Centre.
More South Gippslanders aged 65 and over die from alcohol compared to the state average, with 10.4 deaths per 10,000 people. The Victorian average is less than five percent.
Each month, 32.9 percent of South Gippslanders are risk of short term harm from alcohol, compared to the Victorian average of 29.4 percent, and 13.6 percent are at very high risk – beyond the state average of 9.2 percent.
More than 17 percent of South Gippslanders are at long term risk, beyond the state average of 9.1 percent.
Frighteningly, 67.7 percent of children were exposed to alcohol in utero in 2013 – more than 20 percent above the state average of 46.7 percent.
More young South Gippslanders have drunk alcohol compared to most Victorians: 78.5 percent to 59.5 percent.
The Mirboo North session discussed how people can minimise harm from alcohol and gambling.
The session also heard gambling is a problem in the region, with $18,016 lost on pokies each day in South Gippsland Shire, across 105 machines.
Excessive gambling causes financial stress that in turn affects physical and mental health, and relationships.
Representatives from council, Gamblers Help, Victoria Police and the Mirboo North Community Foundation were among the 25 people who attended.
Maya Rivis, VicHealth principal program officer, alcohol and tobacco, spoke about successful community mobilisation around alcohol harm reduction, and the VicHealth Alcohol Cultures Framework.
Gabi Byrne, ReSPIN program manager and researcher in gambling, talked about her research based on problem gambling relapse prevention and her lived experiences with gambling.
The event was organised as part of the South Gippsland Liquor and Gambling Strategy Action Plan.
Sarah Spragg and Angela Aitken, health promotion students from Deakin University, helped organise the event while on placement with Vicki Bradley, council’s social planning officer.
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