GLADSTONE will play guinea pig to a new youth alcohol education service next year.
The new pilot prevention program, GladstoneCARES, aims to educate parents and young people about the dangers of binge drinking.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation Queensland will also launch the Lives Lived Well counselling service in Gladstone to help combat our drinking culture.
Three Gladstone counsellors have already been handpicked for the program, ahead of the official launch next January.
The prevention programs come off the back of alarming state-wide increases to alcohol related hospitalisations, with 155 intoxicated people taken to Gladstone Hospital in the past 12 months.
A report by the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education revealed a 57% increase in the number of alcohol hospitalisations across the state between 2002 and 2012.
Last year, 91,783 Queenslanders were taken to hospital emergency departments for alcohol related illnesses.
Queensland Ambulance Service Gladstone officer in charge Ron Gibson said he had noticed a difference in drinking behaviours around town.
"In recent times when we have been called out, we have noticed a slight increase especially on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights," Mr Gibson said.
"But would I say there has been a dramatic increase? Probably not."
A Lives Lived well spokesperson said Gladstone was handpicked for the pilot prevention program ahead of Toowoomba and Caboolture due its young demographic and large fly, in-fly-out (FIFO) workforce.
"Anecdotal evidence shows that a FIFO lifestyle can contribute to and foster a culture of greater alcohol and drug misuse," the spokesperson said.
The House Standing Committee on Regional Australia tabled its report into the use of FIFO workforces in regional Australia in February.
The report found that FIFO workers engaging in excessive consumptions of alcohol was of concern.
GladstoneCARES program aims to reduce the harms of alcohol consumption by:
- Urging parents to talk to their kids and provide support.
- Hosting community events for the purposes of community consultation.
- Producing a Community Education and Engagement Toolkit for alcohol and other drug (AOD) workers in Gladstone.
- Developing a campaign website and produce campaign resources to the area.
- Setting up community forums.
What's the difference between the programs?
- Community education, engagement and partnership program.
Lives Lived Well
- An Alcohol and Drug Foundation Queensland counselling service.
- Make an appointment: 4976 9172.