Young Australians Alcohol Reporting System (YAARS)

image - YAARS Project
Tags:
Date Commenced:
09/2012
Expected Date of Completion:
Ongoing
Project Supporters:

The National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University, with funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Grants Fund.

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
image - 1354253715 Alex Aiken Square
Senior Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 0111
Project Main Description: 

This project is being led by the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University.

There is ongoing public and political concern in relation to alcohol consumption among young people. The Australian Government has committed to preventing and intervening in intoxicated behaviour, especially among those under 18. In order to effectively respond to risky drinking among young people, we need enhanced information about the nature, patterns and contexts of use. By engaging with young people and ensuring their input, this can assist us to direct policy, prevention and treatment efforts.

This project will develop an approach that will be implemented nationally. It will combine information from existing data sources with annual data gathering, targeting at‐risk young people (14‐19 years old) to provide:

  • an early warning system on risky patterns of alcohol consumption, contexts of use and related harms that will also allow tracking of changes in use and harm over time; and,
  • timely information on patterns of use and related problems to inform policy, prevention and treatment initiatives.
Project Collaborators: External: 

WA (national coordinators): Prof. Steve Allsop, Dr Tina Lam, Prof. Simon Lenton, Prof. Tanya Chikritzhs, Dr Wenbin Liang, Mr William Gilmore (National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University)

VIC: Prof. Dan Lubman, Assoc/Prof Belinda Lloyd (Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Monash University)

TAS: Assoc/Prof Raimondo Bruno (School of Psychology, University of Tasmania)

SA: Prof. Ann Roche (National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University)

ACT: Ms Helene Delany, Mr Philip Hull (ACT Health)

NT: Prof. Richard Midford (Charles Darwin University & the Menzies School of Health Research)

QLD: Prof. Rosa Alati (School of Public Health, University of QLD)

Rationale: 

There are currently two national surveys that collect data about drinking among young people, additional surveys at a more local/jurisdictional level (e.g. The Young Drug Reporting System in Victoria) as well as other sources that provide information on young people’s drinking, e.g. alcohol related hospital and emergency department data and police data.

However there are several limitations to these:

  • They are not conducted annually, limiting the ability to detect trends over time and act as an ‘early warning system’.
  • Much drinking by young people might be considered a “hidden behaviour” and as such is often excluded or under-represented in mainstream data collection.
  • The available data generally provide little insight into the nature/context of, location of and consequences of young people’s drinking; and,
  • There is little or no consolidation of the various sources of information about young people’s drinking and associated harm.

 

The establishment of a young Australians alcohol reporting system will overcome these limitations and enable effective responses to and analysis of efforts to tackle risky drinking.

Aims: 

To trial a young Australians alcohol reporting system in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales targeting young people (16‐19 years old) who are engaged in risky drinking. The project will combine information from existing data sources with annual data gathering to provide:

  • an early warning system on risky patterns of alcohol consumption, contexts of use and related harms that will also allow tracking of changes in use and harm over time; and,
  • timely information on patterns of use and related problems to inform policy, prevention and treatment initiatives.
Design and Method: 
  • Establishment of an advisory group, including young people
  • Review of all data sources on young people’s drinking, both within Australia and overseas
  • Development of reporting system. The program will collect information on such areas as
  1. patterns of alcohol use
  2. what they drink
  3. where the alcohol is obtained/from whom
  4. risks taking gaining alcohol and while drinking/intoxicated
  5. influences on drinking and risk taking
  6. parental influences on drinking behaviour
  7. other drugs used while drinking alcohol; and
  8. influences on low risk drinking as opposed to high risk drinking.
  • Recruitment: participants will be recruited using similar methods to the existing Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS). The aim is to target 16‐19 year old people with higher levels of risky drinking in the transition from ‘underage’ to legal alcohol‐purchase age. We aim to recruit 400 respondents: 100 each from NSW, VIC, WA, and 100 from a rural location. 20 of each 100 will be randomly selected for more detailed qualitative interviews. Data will also be gathered via an internet questionnaire using snowball approaches (in addition to the sample of 400).
  • Pilot of program: It is proposed the System be implemented using the network of staff involved in the IDRS/EDRS. We plan to gather data during the period October‐February, a potential high risk period of alcohol consumption for young people.
  • Refinement of System based on pilot.
  • Collate System information with existing data from other sources to produce final report.
Progress/Update: 

The qualitative and quantitative interviews have been completed. Three hundred and seventy-six quantitative interviews and 70 qualitative interviews were completed across four jurisdictions (Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Bunbury, WA). To monitor trends in risky drinking amongst young people, the study aimed to collect data on the heaviest drinking 20-25% of 16-19 year olds. The young people interviewed regularly drank at high risk levels (more than 6 standard drinks per occasion at least twice a month for females and 16-17 year old males and more than 10 standard drinks per occasion at least twice a month for 18-19 year old males). A number of papers are currently under review with several others in preparation.

Output: 

Alcohol policy impact on young risky drinkers and their support for proposed measures (2015). Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39, doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12326.

Pre-drinking behavior of young heavy drinkers (Accepted in Substance Use and Misuse). Ogeil R, Lam T, Lenton S, Chikritzhs T, Gilmore W, Aiken A, Burns L, Lloyd B, Lubman D, Mattick RP & Allsop S.

Most recent risky drinking session with Australian teenagers (under review).  Lam T, Lenton S, Ogeil R, Burns L, Aiken A, Chikritzhs T, Gilmore W, Lloyd B, Lubman D, Mattick RP & Allsop S.

Alcohol advertisements appeal to those under 18-years-of-age: An assessment against current advertising code requirements (under review). Aiken A, Burns L, Chikritzhs T, Gilmore W, Lam T, Lenton S, Lloyd B, Lubman D, Ogeil R, Allsop S & Mattick RP.

Benefits: 

This system will provide an ‘early warning system’ of current risks and changes in use and related problems that will inform prevention and other interventions targeting young at‐risk drinkers. The system will also contribute to evaluation of the impact of prevention and other interventions to reduce risky drinking among young people.

Once the system is established in three jurisdictions, it is anticipated that other sources of funding will be sought for a national roll‐out and to implement a series of satellite studies. 

Project Research Area: 
Drug Type: 
Project Status: 
Current