SCUAAC Briefing 9 February 1994 Mr Steve Gelding District Manager representing the Department of Health and Community Services
Tabled Paper 345
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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ALCOHOL ABUSE COMMITTEE - Wednesday 9 February 1994 KATHERINE MEETING there is any other way than abstinence for the majority of traditionally-oriented Aboriginals. Wesley would take me to task on that probably because we do talk about it. I understand that Warren Omera is interested in the wet canteen possibilities around the bush. On the other hand, particularly in the non-Aboriginal community and in the non-traditionally-oriented Aboriginal community, those 'control drinking' programs are fine. This committee has put in a great deal of effort into educating the community that safe levels of drinking are 4 standard drinks and so on. I think that is really important. Mr GELDING: Certainly, that was targeting possibly the urban non-Aboriginal - the Christmas party drink, the office party. Every Christmas is the same. In Katherine, you could go to a function every afternoon and drink in the 3 or 4 weeks preceding Christmas. That is what it was targeting. There are a number of different strategies. The difficulty I had with KADA is that basically it was AA orientated. It has now moved right away from that. Mr BELL: That is interesting because DASA in Alice Springs has quite a different philosophy - a well-developed, 'drinking in moderation' philosophy. Mr POOLE: Mind you, a few years ago that also was controlled by AA people too. If you go back 5 years, they were very much promoting total abstinence. Mr LANHUPUY: What is the bed occupancy rate at the hospital for alcohol-related problems? Mr GELDING: I could not tell you the exact figure off the top of my head. We do keep stats, but the problem is that they are not accurate. It is probably higher - you could pick a figure and add a bit more. Mr LANHUPUY: But it is there? Mr GELDING: The hospital here does not actually mark people as they come in as having alcohol-related problems. We have had long discussions about the value of doing that or otherwise. My previous role was in the hospital before I was in this job. At KADA's request, we ran a pilot survey over a period of 2 months whereby people were stamped with an AR - alcohol-related - on admission. I cannot recall the exact figure, but it was over 50%. There was a difficulty in the actual interpretation. There were the guidelines but, if a child has come in malnourished, that could be alcohol-related if the parents are drinking. It is very difficult to ... Mr POOLE: That does not necessarily mean that, if the parents were not drinking, they would look after it.
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