Alcohol Cultural Change Project 2013-2015 Last updated: 17 Feb, 2017

VicHealth today announced the winning projects in the inaugural VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Alcohol.

CEO Jerril Rechter said the aim of the Challenge was to work with entrepreneurs, non-for-profits and changemakers, and universities to generate new ideas to reduce the amount Victorians drink, or increase the acceptability of moderate drinking.

"We know that most Victorians enjoy a drink and that alcohol is part of most social occasions. However, the more people drink, the more likely they are to suffer from an injury, aggression or an accident, as well as increase their risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and some cancers.

"The VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Alcohol was created to encourage Victorians to think of bold ideas to change the way people drink. We were thrilled to receive nearly 30 innovative proposals from a broad range of organisations.  VicHealth is supporting four projects that promise new collaborations that will make an impact on the wider community," Ms Rechter added.

The successful projects are:

Enough is Enough: Emergency Department Clinicians Action on Reducing Alcohol Harm – Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, Hello Sunday Morning & Monash University

This project will develop an app to allow emergency department clinicians to identify hazardous drinkers and offer them a Brief Intervention (BI) and referral if required.  Clinicians will screen for harmful drinking on their smartphones, using the World Health Organization’s Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Tool (AUDIT), and where appropriate, follow with a referral to to reduce their alcohol consumption. The aim is to develop a feasible, sustainable BI for emergency department patients, coupled with an ongoing opportunity to reduce harmful drinking. The innovation will be piloted in three Victorian emergency departments. 

Peer Modelling: Drinking Culture Change Intervention – Swinburne University & Victoria Police

This project targets 20-24-year-olds whose alcohol consumption brings them into contact with Victoria Police. An online program will be developed, featuring video interviews with young people talking about how they have successfully reduced their own harmful alcohol consumption. The program will provide an alternative to legal penalties for offences related to alcohol.

Be a brother – cohealth, Youth Support & Advocacy Service, Victoria University and South Sudanese filmmaker Ez Eldin Deng

The program is aimed at African men aged 16-25 in Melbourne’s western region. cohealth will work with young African Australians in the community who have controlled their drinking or whose lives were adversely affected by alcohol to produce peer-led social media campaigns that will define being a brother as somebody who takes care of their friends and doesn't push them to drink more.  

#SoberSelfie – Australian Drug Foundation

Targeted towards 18-30-year-olds, the #SoberSelfie campaign encourages people to drink less by sharing a selfie of them looking sharp on their social media platforms. Young people can nominate their friends to take the challenge so that everyone can have a healthier and more enjoyable tomorrow.  

Minister for Health, The Hon. Jill Hennessy, said the VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Alcohol was a great example of Victoria leading the way in encouraging a better drinking culture in Australia. 

"The culture of drinking in Australia is beginning to change but many are still drinking alcohol at levels that put them at risk of short and long-term harm.

"These projects will be key to identifying what stops people from moderating their drinking and how to best reach out to those most at-risk in our community."

Professor Dan Lubman from Turning Point said: "Injuries, accidents and assaults as a result of drinking to excess continues to be a major cause for community concern, with our research and what we see on the frontline highlighting the need for us all to reconsider Australia's current drinking culture. 

"VicHealth and their partners are to be congratulated for their innovation and commitment to tackling alcohol-related harms. Only by working together can we really develop a Victoria that has a more healthy relationship with alcohol," Prof. Lubman added.

Media Contact: Helen Walsh, Senior Media Advisor, 03 9667 1319 or 0435 761 732 or email [email protected].