Loneliness – a new public health challenge 

The swelling COVID-19 outbreak and the extension of lockdown have left many Australians grappling with social isolation and loneliness. 

New research shows loneliness is a serious public health problem, with the condition posing a higher risk of premature death than smoking. 

Links to depression may not be surprising, but loneliness can also be associated with poorer cardiovascular health, a faster rate of cognitive decline in old age and risky alcohol and other drug use. 

FARE recently lodged a submission with the Queensland Government as part of an inquiry into social isolation and loneliness. 

Risky alcohol and other drug use and social isolation and loneliness, are both a cause and a consequence that can create a feedback loop, increasing the severity of both problems. 

FARE is calling on the QLD Government make sure alcohol companies do not promote their products by associating alcohol use and coping with COVID-19, social isolation or loneliness. 

The Committee is due to report their recommendations in early December. You can read FARE’s submission here

Crisis support can be found at Lifeline: (13 11 14 and, the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467 and and beyondblue (1300 22 4636 and

Queensland parliamentary inquiry to address loneliness after coronavirus lockdown leaves many more people feeling isolated

Age checks for alcohol delivery needed to keep SA kids safe

Health and community groups have called for the South Australian Government to close a loophole that allows people to buy alcohol online without proving they are of legal age. 

Along with FARE, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation and the SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services asked the SA Government to introduce commonsense measures to the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2021 tabled this week in Parliament. 

The groups called on the Government to introduce requirements for: 

  • alcohol companies to verify proof of age identification when selling alcoholic products online 
  • no unattended deliveries of alcohol, and 
  • a two-hour delay between the order and delivery to stop the fast supply of alcohol to people who may be intoxicated or managing alcohol dependencies. 

NSW recently introduced a suite of new laws for alcohol deliveries, including the obligation to verify age both online and upon delivery for same day deliveries, and the Victorian Government are currently considering changes to their legislation. 

The SA Government did not respond to media questions regarding the loophole allowing children to buy alcohol, but Attorney-General Vickie Chapman told NCA Newswire that the proposed changes would strengthen barring orders and the regulation of same-day alcohol delivery. 

Learn more

Alcohol companies preying on lockdown anxieties to boost sales 

When the lockdown was announced in Greater Sydney at the end of June, alcohol companies wasted no time in promoting their products online. Dan Murphy’s sent an email reassuring people their bottle shops would stay open, and an alcohol company executive from Lion tweeted that if people were going to ‘panic buy’, they should panic buy one of their products.  

Last year we saw ads encouraging people to use alcohol to cope, 'survive' or feel better during the global pandemic. Messages like these are pushing alcohol into our homes and contributing to alcohol harms felt in our families and communities. Alcohol companies that use messages like this must be held accountable.  

FARE’s CEO Caterina Giorgi was featured in the New Daily last week, highlighting the predatory tactics of the alcohol industry – read more about what she had to say here.

Have you been impacted by alcohol companies’ marketing tactics during COVID-19? Have you seen ads on social media or other digital platforms pushing alcohol and using questionable messages? FARE wants to hear from you. 

Tell us what you've seen

How you can contribute to reducing alcohol harm 

Last week, FARE CEO Caterina Giorgi marked another trip around the sun by creating a FARE Facebook fundraiser – encouraging friends and family to donate to the work we do as a community. 

There’s still time to donate to Cat’s fundraiser! Wish Caterina a happy birthday and help reach her fundraising goal.  

Want to support our work through your own fundraiser? You can now create your own Facebook or MyCause fundraiser in support of FARE. 

Set up your own Facebook fundraiser
Set up your own MyCause fundraiser

Understanding FASD

On 9 September, International FASD Awareness Day, The La Trobe Rural Health School will hold a free online seminar for health and community service professionals. The event will provide introductory information on FASD and while the event is targeted to professionals in Victoria, it is open to everyone. Register here.

NOFASD Australia is also hosting a series of events in conjunction with International FASD Awareness Day and FASD Awareness Month in September. You can register for these events here, learn more and access helpful resources here.

Research and reports

Uptick in U.S. alcohol beverage sales during COVID-19 pandemic  
A new study has found that home drinking increased 20 per cent in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, with alcohol retail store sales rising from March 2020 to September 2020 compared to its usual trend. The researchers said that increases in alcohol use at home could potentially exacerbate social isolation and domestic violence. Learn more here.

Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018 
Alcohol is the fifth top risk factor contributing to 4.5% of Australia’s disease burden according to new research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. While, alcohol use disorders were in the top 15 conditions, contributing to 2.9% of the disease burden. Across all conditions, a total 38 per cent of Australia’s burden of disease is preventable. Learn more here.

In the news

Boris Johnson quits booze for the rest of the year—why he’s onto something
Deaths caused by alcohol at highest level since 2008 in Scotland
Alcohol deliveries are putting Victorians at risk
How my parents kept me sober
Indigenous mentor uses his own drug, alcohol struggles to steer youth towards jobs, confidence
SA Government slams claims ‘loophole’ in new law could allow underage residents to buy booze online
©2021 Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education
PO Box 19 Deakin ACT 2600

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