Booze takes a huge toll in Belmont

IN 2011, 22 per cent of City of Belmont residents who died were affected by alcohol.

The City of Belmont�s Leisure, Arts and Lifestyle Plan 2015-2018 (LALP), which was endorsed by councillors at last week�s council meeting, identified alcohol as one of its key priority areas.

The LALP provides a framework for the City to plan, develop, implement, evaluate and sustain programs, opportunities and services around identified key areas.

It was developed to show the City�s health, leisure and arts profile, and how the City was performing in these areas.

When it came to its alcohol priority, it was identified that alcohol contributed in 22 per cent of deaths in the City in 2011.

The figure comes from the Department of Health�s City of Belmont Health and Wellbeing Profile (2013).

The profile also showed that in 2011, City residents were hospitalised 375 times due to alcohol, which accounts for

38.6 per cent of hospitalisations.

Rates of male hospitalisations due to liver cirrhosis, cancers, falls and assaults between 2007 and 2011 were also significantly higher for City residents than the State average.

According to the plan, more than a quarter of the City of Belmont population aged 16 and over consumed alcohol at levels associated with long term harm.

In 2014, the City conducted an alcohol study, which included surveying staff, residents and the business community.

The results showed that alcohol-related issues in the community had affected the majority of respondents.

The Public Health Bill 2014 has progressed through WA Parliament.

According to the Department of Health�s website, it is expected the Bill would replace much of the existing Health Act 1911.

It aims to provide the community with legislation to promote public health and wellbeing, and encourage individuals and communities to plan for, create and maintain a healthy environment.

The Bill would require local governments to develop and implement a public health plan to address priority

areas, such as obesity, smoking and alcohol management.

According to its report, the City of Belmont�s LALP key priority areas were selected in anticipation of the new Bill.

The City�s strategy to tackle the alcohol issue is to educate and advocate for the safe consumption of alcohol. It plans to create opportunities to educate the community on the harms of excessive alcohol consumption, and seek to establish its position on alcohol promotion and signage through council policy.

The City also plans to provide support for sporting clubs to encourage alcohol-free events.

The facts about alcohol

Holyoake is a provider of drug and alcohol counselling and support services in Western Australia.

Chief executive Angie Paskevicius said alcohol was the number one reason for people to attend Holyoake for counselling

and support.

�Over the past year at our Victoria Park site, almost 40 per cent of consumers identified alcohol as the their primary drug of concern,� she said.

In a 2015 poll, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education found 75 percent of Australians believed that Australia

had a problem with alcohol.

�Alcohol does contribute to a significant number of deaths throughout Australia each year,� Ms Paskevicius said.

�In 2010, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education found that WA had 384 alcohol-attributed deaths for men and 208 deaths for women.

�The main causes of death included injuries, cancers, digestive and cardiovascular diseases.

�Excess alcohol consumption has a devastating effect on the community.

�The impact for individuals with alcohol- related issues include their health and wellbeing, quality of relationships, capacity to maintain employment and the risk of legal or justice related problems.�