LIFE has been tough during the coronavirus pandemic, and if you've been imbibing a little too much Dry July presents the perfect opportunity to cut back on the booze.
Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) and Brophy Family and Youth services are urging people to decrease their alcohol intake and raise money for a good cause.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has found alcohol is the principal drug of concern in 36 per cent of clients of publicly funded specialist alcohol and other drug treatment services.
The report also found alcohol to be the main or an additional drug of concern in 48 per cent of cases.
The findings comes as WRAD throws its support behind Dry July. Operations manager Mark Powell said this year's dry spell was more important than ever as people battle with the challenges of COVID-19.
"The fact that people are not having to leave home for work or having to drive as much has led to spikes in drinking on weekdays when people normally wouldn't be drinking," he said. "The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk of people developing habits that are difficult to change.
Dry July gives people an opportunity to reset and take a break from drinking and check if they have capacity to stop when they want.Mark Powell
Brophy's youth alcohol and other drugs team leader Jessica Moloney said the organisation had worked with 155 young people aged 12-25, who were using the substance or concerned about their families or peers drinking habits, in the past financial year.
"There has been an increase in our concern of alcohol usage since the pandemic," she said. "Alcohol is presenting as one of the primary substance people are coming through with. It is definitely the highest secondary substance people report using behind cannabis."
A recent poll by the Australian Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education revealed one-in-five households reported buying more alcohol than usual since the COVID-19 outbreak and of those 70 per cent reported drinking more alcohol than usual since the pandemic began.
WRAD has noticed increased community concerns about alcohol use and an increase in presentations to its centre. He said "dry month" promotions were shown to work internationally and Miss Moloney also supported the campaign.
I think it's a really great idea to take a break from any behaviour or substances but alcohol is a tricky one.Jessica Moloney
"Binge drinking is a common problem we get in the youth coming through. We need to raise the awareness as to what binge drinking is, people might identify they're drinking once a week but on that one night they might be having around 20 standards that night.
"A really big thing we work is allowing people to realise its an important skill to be able to do things without a substance. By knowing you can take breaks is so important and skill you can take forward for the rest of you life.
"If someones usage has increased for a period of time they may need a reduction plan. If anyone has noticed an increase in their alcohol usage throughout COVID-19, a chat with your GP is a great start."
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