New review explores the harmful effects of alcohol use in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context
The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has published a new Review of the harmful use of alcohol among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Written by NDRI researchers Dennis Gray, Kim Cartwright, Anna Stearne, Sherry Saggers, Ted Wilkes and Mandy Wilson, the review explores the harmful effects of alcohol use in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context. It examines patterns of use, health impacts, underlying causal factors, policies and interventions to address these impacts, and ways to further reduce harm.
The review highlights that alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needs to be understood within the social and historical context of colonisation, dispossession of land and culture, and economic exclusion. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are around 1.3 times more likely to abstain from alcohol than non-Indigenous people, those who do drink alcohol are more likely to experience health-related harms than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
Furthermore, the evidence presented in this review suggests that effective strategies to address the problem of harmful alcohol use include: alternative activities, brief interventions, treatment and ongoing care; taxation and price controls and other restrictions on availability; and community patrols and sobering up shelters.
HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, said “The latest review, written by Professor Dennis Gray and colleagues from NDRI, is a vital new addition to our suite of knowledge exchange resources. It makes the large body of evidence available in a succinct, evidence-based summary prepared by world renowned experts. This delivers considerable time savings to a time poor workforce striving to keep up-to-date in a world where the sheer weight of new information can often seem overwhelming. I am delighted to release this important new resource to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector.”
This review will help to inform, support and educate those working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia. It can be accessed online or as a PDF via the Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre website.