Midgårdsjarlen tipsade om två artiklar från The Australian där man beskriver grava problem i samband med stor alkoholkonsumtion bland aboriginer.
Barnen får fosterskador som hjärnskador som bland annat leder till koncentrationsstörningar, hälsoproblem och de lämnar tidigt skolan och hamnar i droger och kriminalitet.
”Paige Taylor | April 02, 2009
THE Fitzroy Crossing bottleshop sold 133,700 litres of full-strength beer and 2600 litres of spirits in just three months before restrictions slashed police work and hospital admissions in the tiny Kimberley town.
The West Australian Drug and Alcohol Office has found police were required to attend 28 per cent fewer alcohol-related tasks in the 12 months after the State Director of Liquor Licensing imposed a landmark ban on the sale of full-strength alcohol in Fitzroy Crossing in October 2007.
The report, which also found a 36 per cent reduction in the number of alcohol-related emergency department presentations at Fitzroy Crossing’s hospital, comes as the director, Barry Sargeant, considers imposing the same ban in Halls Creek, 290km west of Fitzroy Crossing.
But the results in Fitzroy Crossing, which has a population of about 1200, were mixed. There was a 23 per cent increase in reported domestic violence incidents in the year after the alcohol restrictions were imposed.
Police have previously attributed this to a shattering of the conspiracy of silence surrounding domestic violence.
”Services are finding that with the higher levels of sobriety within the community, people are becoming less tolerant of domestic violence and other incidents and they are now more prepared to make a report,” the report says.
”Police also believe that the current level of reporting is a more accurate reflection of the extent of the issues within the community than prior to the restrictions being introduced.”
Health workers in Fitzroy Crossing are now preparing to screen all children for fetal alcohol syndrome.
Indigenous women in Fitzroy Crossing were behind the push for alcohol restrictions, and the ban on full-strength takeaway alcohol was imposed as state Coroner Alastair Hope arrived in town last year for hearings into a litany of alcohol-related suicides.
Mr Hope was told that alcohol dominated the lives and had ruined the mental health of many Aboriginal families, and that attempting suicide had become a form of self-expression.
He later described the plight of the children of the region as pathetic.
In Halls Creek, indigenous women are also behind the push for restrictions. But Halls Creek licensees claim the women do not represent the community’s views and that alcohol abuse in the town is not widespread.
The public debate has escalated since local senior doctor David Shepherd publicly contradicted the licensees by arguing that severe restrictions were drastic but necessary.
He said that 90 per cent of pregnant women in Halls Creek drank alcohol and he estimated that a third of children in the town were affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
A WOMAN in Halls Creek refused to go to hospital to give birth earlier this month because she was busy drinking with friends.
Frantic child protection workers asked police to help search for the woman on the evening of March 12, about four hours before she was due to travel by bus to Derby hospital. She was found drunk and drinking alcohol in a clearing opposite the town’s Animal Bar at about 6.30pm.
The Australian has learned the mother-of-three initially refused to accompany an officer from the Department for Child Protection to Halls Creek hospital, and was later seen trying to slip out of the hospital waiting room.
The woman, who tried to give up drinking last year, was convinced to wait for the bus.
Her tale, widely known in Halls Creek, is one of the latest examples used to back a call for alcohol restrictions in the town. The Australian Medical Association has backed a proposal to ban full-strength takeaway alcohol sales after the town’s senior doctor estimated that about 90 per cent of pregnant women drank alcohol and a third of the children had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Last weekend, the Australian Hotels Association launched a program for pregnant women in Halls Creek in which women could opt to be refused service during their pregnancies.
AHA state executive director Bradley Woods said it was illegal for pubs and bottleshops to refuse to serve a woman on the grounds she was pregnant, and the program relied on doctors and health services encouraging women to opt in. ”It’s only been in the past week that people have publicly acknowledged the high incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome (in Halls Creek) and that has spurred us into action … to support health agencies in stopping the consumption of liquor by pregnant women,” Mr Woods said.
Researcher Heather D’Antoine, of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, described the program as absurd and ”a red herring to distract against the real issue of restricting the supply of alcohol in Halls Creek”.
Mr Woods said his organisation would rather try something than do nothing.
The West Australian branch of the AMA yesterday described the scourge of alcohol in Halls Creek as a shameful tragedy that could not be allowed to continue.
AMA state president Gary Geelhoed pointed to the town’s second-generation fetal alcohol syndrome. ”These children are being raised by young women who have their own learning difficulties because of alcohol abuse by their mothers,” Professor Geelhoed said. ”If we fail to act … the next generation of Aboriginal kids will be condemned to a life of behavioural problems, neglect, health issues, educational failures, substance abuse and juvenile crime.”
He said some babies were being born with irreversible brain damage and others had low birth weight, facial abnormalities and would be difficult to manage, drop out of school and inevitably end up in substance abuse and crime.
”We have already seen the benefits of banning takeaway full-strength alcohol in Fitzroy Crossing and the Licensing Court should have no hesitation in applying the same restrictions in Halls Creek,” he said. ”It’s a vital decision that far outweighs the commercial interests of the town’s licensed premises and the Australian Hotels Association.”