In Health

Western Australia Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton

Alcohol’s Effect On Developing Brain

Victor P Taffa

  • Child’s brain continues to develop until their early 20’s
  • National guidelines recommend no alcohol is the safest choice for under 18’s

A new Western Australian television campaign begins tonight, explaining to parents the effect of alcohol on the developing brain of their children by promoting the national guidelines that no alcohol is the safest choice for under 18s.

Mental Health Minister Helen Morton today launched the State-wide campaign at a ‘Parents, Young People and Alcohol’ forum, along with new statistics about how much alcohol young West Australians are drinking.

“This latest campaign is about giving parents important facts and the latest research about their children and alcohol.” Mrs. Morton said.

“Of those surveyed, fewer young people are choosing to drink.  However, those who are drinking are doing so at increasingly riskier levels.  A child’s brain develops until their early 20’s and they need to be discouraged from starting to drink and drinking harmfully.”

The Minister released a bulletin of alcohol trends from the 2011 Australian School Students Alcohol and Drugs Survey which showed of the students who said they had consumed alcohol in the last week, those drinking at risky levels had increased from 20.9 % in 1993 to 36.2 % in 2011.

“Overall the survey shows while more students are saying they are not drinking alcohol or the rate of use has declined, those choosing to drink are doing so at increasingly concerning levels.” Mrs. Morton said.

“Of the students surveyed in 2011, 17.5 % said they had consumed alcohol in the last week and of these more than one-third drank at risky levels for single occasion harm.”

The Alcohol.Think Again television campaign will run State-wide for four weeks, supported by targeted online digital advertising.  It is conducted in partnership with the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth; and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

Fact File

  • Previous campaigns:
  • May 2010 – ‘Alcohol and Cancer’ Phase One;
  • September 2010 – Putting up with drunkenness can have serious consequences;
  • February 2012 – ‘Alcohol and Cancer’ Phase Two;
  • June 2012 – No Alcohol in Pregnancy is the Safest Choice
  • Most students do not drink alcohol regularly; almost 1 in 4 don’t drink alcohol at all
  • Binge drinking is most common type of risky drinking among young people
  • Risky drinking is defined as more than 4 standard drinks on any one day
  • Parent Drug Information Service 24/7 on 9442 5050, or country callers toll free 1800 198 024

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