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A Project to curb underage binge drinking across the nation will be trialled in Tasmania.
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government had signed a $700,000 funding agreement with the State Government to operate a pilot program in southern Tasmania teaching teenagers about the risks of drinking.
“The pilot is part of an innovative national framework for early intervention and diversion of drinkers, aged under 18 years, who come to the attention of police for liquor-related offences,” Ms Roxon said.
“It offers young people the opportunity to better comprehend the risks they are taking.”
The money is part of $19 million allocated nationally for the Early Intervention Pilot Program and will go to the Tasmania Police Southern District Command area.
Outreach centres will be employed to conduct alcohol education sessions for teenagers and programs will be developed to provide ongoing treatment for young problem drinkers.
Ms Roxon said the program aimed to counter early drinking cultures and would back up the Government’s $20 million advertising campaign urging young people to recognise the consequences of binge drinking and take responsibility for themselves.
She said the Federal Government would work with Tasmanian authorities to ensure statistics were collected properly and the information would be used in future policy.
The head of Tasmania’s Alcohol and Drug Service, Adrian Reynolds, said earlier this year that binge drinking by teenagers and young adults could lead to brain damage.
Dr Reynolds said drinking by young people was often associated with serious accidents and injury, violence, self-harm and even suicide. Young drinkers were also more likely to take up other drugs.
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