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Researchers Raise Doubts About DrinkWise

Australia: Researchers Raise Doubts About DrinkWise

Australian Researchers have raised serious doubt about DrinkWise, an alcohol-industry funded social aspects and public relations organization.

The researchers from Edith Cowan University’s school of arts and humanities in Perth analyzed DrinkWise’s press releases over a period of five years as well as their framing of the alcohol issue.

The study concluded the messages were a form of indirect lobbying serving to protect the alcohol industry from increased government regulation by deflecting industry responsibility for alcohol-related problems.

We found that DrinkWise messages tended to blame parents, and culture in general, for children’s drinking habits. This ultimately shifts blame away from the industry, ignoring the role of alcohol marketing in causing alcohol-related harms,” Dr Brady told News.com.au.

DrinkWise Australia chief executive John Scott called the critique extremely disappointing, saying the organisation had invested more than $30 million since 2005 on targeted and sustained campaigns and education activities designed to promote a healthier and safer Australian alcohol culture.

Evidence compiled by the world’s leading alcohol researchers shows which alcohol policy measures are most cost-effective, high impact and most evidence-based.

Meta studies clearly show that alcohol industry interventions like those of DrinkWise are not effective in changing behavior – as evidenced by “Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity“. Alcohol industry self-regulation leads to ineffective measures and thus remains pointless concerning levels of alcohol harm.

Therefore, researchers argue that DrinkWise did not advocate for any evidence-based strategies to reduce alcohol consumption in a sample of 54 consecutive media releases.

We believe the communication was targeted to elites and policymakers in order to influence public policy through news media,” Ms Pietracatella told News.com.au.

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