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Great Southern community services call to rethink alcohol use this festive season

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As the silly season approaches, Great Southern drug and alcohol support services are calling on workplaces and party hosts to rethink the focus of their festive events to help reduce alcohol-related harm.

Since 2015, the Lower Great Southern Alcohol and Other Drug Management Group has worked with government and non-government agencies to reduce the social acceptance of alcohol and its damage.

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Chairman Sachin Khairnar said the festive season was a good time to reflect on our drinking culture.

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“During the Christmas and new year period there is an increase in festivities, parties, family gatherings, work functions and barbecues,” he said.

“While it’s a great time of year, it can also be a time of excess, especially when it comes to alcohol.

“Research tells us that even when people intend to drink responsibly, it can be difficult to stick to this plan because getting drunk is often an accepted norm.

“There is often social pressure to drink, and the setting makes it easy to drink large amounts.

Palmerston acting manager Sachin Khairnar, Tradie Ninja Sam Goodall, Palmerston suicide prevention officer Hannah Dube, board member Ashley McPhail, outreach manager Chrystie Flint and Albany Youth Support Association chief executive Ian Clarke at Albany Indoor Adventures.
Camera IconPalmerston acting manager Sachin Khairnar, Tradie Ninja Sam Goodall, Palmerston suicide prevention officer Hannah Dube, board member Ashley McPhail, outreach manager Chrystie Flint and Albany Youth Support Association chief executive Ian Clarke at Albany Indoor Adventures. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

“One of the most important ways to create a less harmful drinking culture is to change the acceptance of drunkenness, and the problems that go with it.”

Mr Khairnar encouraged workplaces and individuals to remember their duty of care to their guests.

Planning alcohol-free events, providing food from start to finish, providing water and non-alcoholic beverages, and helping people get home safely were some of the ways people could protect their guests.

“You and your guests can have a great time if you take responsibility for the way alcohol is made available and create a low risk environment for your guests,” he said.

Albany Indoor Adventures owner Sam Goodall said physical activity was a great alternative.

“I would encourage everyone to come and do something exciting, something fun with friends, something that is going to improve your health in many different ways and challenge yourself,” he said.

Anyone concerned about their own or another person’s alcohol and drug use can contact the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 1800 198 024.

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