Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association

The Alcohol Awareness project: community education and brief intervention in an urban Aboriginal setting

Katherine Conigrave, Brian Freeman, Therese Caroll, Lynette Simpson, K.S. Kylie Lee, Vicki Wade, Keren Kiel, Steve Ella, Karen Becker and Bradley Freeburn

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 23(3) 219 - 225
Published: 27 November 2012


Issue addressed: Although many Aboriginal Australians live in cities, minimal research has addressed community-based approaches to reduce alcohol problems in that setting. Methods: We conducted a pilot study of community-based education and brief intervention. Existing Aboriginal community-based groups in an urban region were offered interactive education sessions with Aboriginal facilitators. The session was based around a World Health Organization brief intervention, with posters as visual aids. Before education, participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and questions on potential barriers to treatment access. After the session, feedback on AUDIT score and one-on-one brief intervention were offered. Results: Over 12 months, eight sessions were conducted and 58 individuals participated. The groups reached individuals with potentialneed for assistance: although 29.8% of the 47 questionnaire respondents were non-drinkers, 44.7% had an AUDIT score (of 8+) suggesting an alcohol problem, and 51.5% of drinkers reported 5+ (non-standardised) drinks per occasion. Participants showed considerable interestin the resources and most actively participated. All appeared unaware of recommended drinking limits, or of newer treatment options such as home detoxification or relapse prevention medicines. Participants were interested to receive their AUDIT score but not one-on-one intervention. Potential treatment access barriers were described. Conclusions: Interactive group education and feedback of AUDIT score is labour intensive but promoted thoughtful discussion on drinking. Methods to empower and support urban Aboriginal communities to tackle drinking problems need further exploration.

© Australian Health Promotion Association 2012

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