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Alliance of health groups support Operation Unite: A Blitz on Drunken Violence

Friday 7 December, 2012

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) is supporting the collaboration by police from Australia and New Zealand to conduct the cross-jurisdictional initiative, Operation Unite - a Blitz on Drunken Violence, this weekend (7 to 9 December 2012).

"Operation Unite is a rallying call for the nation," said Professor Mike Daube Co-Chair of the NAAA and Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth.

"The infatuation with drinking to get drunk and poor decision making fuelled with alcohol can result in tragedies not only for drinkers but for innocent victims. Police and hospital resources are stretched intolerably by the need to deal with alcohol-caused injuries and violent behaviour. Police, health bodies, and the wider community need to work together to reduce the impacts of alcohol-related harm."

More than one-quarter (28.7%) of Australian adults report being victims of alcohol-related incidents ranging from verbal abuse to being put in fear of physical abuse. Alcohol is a major cause of deaths on Australian roads and the trend has been increasing over the past decade. Most Australians (83.2%) support stricter enforcement of laws against serving drunk customers.

Operation Unite demonstrates the united determination of police to challenge alcohol misuse, crime, violence and anti-social behaviour. Police are using this weekend as an opportunity to highlight the risk of injury, assault and violence associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

"As we enter the festive season, Operation Unite sends a timely wake-up call to the community to think about their behaviour when out drinking and consider the consequences long after the night is over. We can all play a part in creating change," said Todd Harper, Co-Chair of the NAAA and CEO of Cancer Council Victoria.

"An important part of achieving change in our harmful drinking culture is implementing effective prevention strategies," said Mr Harper

Mr Harper said the international scientific evidence shows that the most effective ways to reduce hazardous drinking and alcohol injuries and diseases in the population are by restricting the physical availability of alcohol through reducing opening hours and numbers of outlets, and increasing the price of alcohol through policies such as volumetric taxation and minimum pricing.