Booze or drugs, it’s not a competition…
A story is doing the rounds arguing that “booze is better than drugs” (here, citing a recent study from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. The argument made by Caleb Bond of the Daily Telegraph is that while it is true that alcohol causes the more harm in a community than any other drug, it is only because it is the most widely available. In addition, the article promotes the simplistic view that if parents teach their children to ‘drink responsibly’, they will experience less harm.
The Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (QNADA) is the peak body for the alcohol and other drug treatment sector in Queensland. CEO Rebecca Lang is committed to harm reduction for all substances. She states:
“The article is misleading and incorrectly asserts that early access to alcohol in a controlled environment reduces both the likelihood of young people going on to experience alcohol related harm or to use other drugs, which is just not supported by the evidence.”
“Early induction into use of any type of drug, be it alcohol or something else has long been associated with a higher risk of progressing to problematic use in later life.”
“Let’s be clear, all alcohol and other drug use carries a risk. We need to be careful not to give parents a false sense of security that alcohol use is somehow less risky than other drug use. The study cited is useful for parents who wish to better understand the relative risks of harm to the developing brain from moderate alcohol use with that of harm from binge drinking. Professor Mattick, the study’s author warns parents not to assume that early supply of alcohol is protecting their children and we agree. The issue is complex and parents need access to accurate information to make good decisions to protect the wellbeing of their children.”
If you or someone you know has identified that help is needed for problematic alcohol and other drug use, please contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 177 833. They provide a free 24 hour/7 day counselling, information and referral service for anyone with concerns about their own or someone else’s use of alcohol or other drugs. This is an anonymous and confidential service.
For more information, anecdotes or comment, please contact Rebecca Lang on 0408669590.