Alcohol Awareness Month Gets Underway

April 1, 2014

[Updated] April is Alcohol Awareness Month and earlier today [Apr 1], the Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley joined Opposition MP Wayne Furbert, MP Nandi Outerbridge, members of CADA, the Bermuda Police Service and the Department for National Drug Control to officially launch this month’s campaign.

“The issues surrounding the use and misuse of alcohol are of importance to the community and transcend ordinary Party politics,” said Minister Dunkley.

L-R:Acting Assistant Commissioner Martin Weeks, DNDC Director Joanne Dean, Opposition MP Wayne Furbert, Minister Dunkley, MP Nandi Davis and CADA Executive Director, Anthony Santucci.

Alcohol Awareness Month

Minister Dunkley’s full statement follows below:

I am pleased to join with my parliamentary colleagues Shadow Minister Mr. Wayne Furbert and MP Nandi Outerbridge, the Police and CADA to launch Alcohol Awareness Month 2014.

The issues surrounding the use and misuse of alcohol are of importance to the community and transcend ordinary Party politics.

The public will recall that the Department for National Drug Control recently released the results of the 2013 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The results indicated that alcohol has indeed become a part of the social fabric in Bermuda’s culture. This survey showed that alcohol remains the most prevalently used legal substance and that there was a higher tendency for persons to drink alcohol if they have friends or family members who get drunk.

Most drinking was reported to occur on the weekends with “binge drinking” [having five or more drinks at once] more prevalent among males.

When it comes to perceptions of risk or the harms associated with substance abuse, drinking alcoholic beverages and becoming drunk were perceived to be the most harmful of the risky behaviours – even more so than smoking marijuana often.

The results of the survey also indicate that we have more work to do in driving home the message of alcohol awareness:

  • One in 10 persons was drunk on at least one day in the past month.
  • Almost half of the respondents [49.2%] said that they had never or not at all observed the legally required health caution of the Alcohol Advertisement Act 1993, which stipulates that alcohol advertisements should be accompanied by the warning “Excessive alcohol consumption may be harmful to your health”.

The Survey also indicated some encouraging trends which serve as guide for policy making in the short term:

  • More than two-thirds or 68.4% of the survey respondents admitted to being in favour of laws preventing persons from serving alcohol to minors in their homes or on their premises.
  • The majority of respondents [83.1%] were in favor of roadside sobriety checkpoints.

The Government is very concerned about the use and abuse of any drug or alcohol.

We will continue to work with CADA and other partners to tackle these challenges. We have seen some positive steps recently with the passage of the Liquor Licensing Amendment Act 2014, supported by all Members of the House and Senate, and both survey matters I just mentioned will be considered by this Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport and the Attorney General’s Chambers so that we can continue to promote alcohol awareness and legislate where necessary, in the best interest of all Bermudians.

Thank you.

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Update 3.17pm: The proclamation read by MP Nandi Outerbridge follows below.

WHEREAS:
The objectives for Alcohol Awareness Month, 2014 are to raise public awareness about sobriety checkpoints, how they operate and the results they can achieve, and, to increase public awareness on the importance of keeping alcohol out of the hands of children and teens.

WHEREAS:
The Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, The Honorable Shawn Crockwell JP MP, has expressed this Government’s commitment to ensuring that roadside breath tests for drink drivers become admissible evidence in court.

WHEREAS:
There are currently no police powers at law, for demanding and taking breath samples on the road.

WHEREAS:
CADA supports the enactment of amendments to the Road Traffic Act 1947 to enhance police powers to demand and take breath samples from motorists.

WHEREAS:
CADA is advocating for a joint, well-publicized, nationally branded sobriety checkpoint enforcement campaign that will create awareness amongst motorists that if they drink and then drive their apprehension is inevitable.

WHEREAS:
Parents and adults must take personal responsibility for making alcohol less accessible to our young people.

WHEREAS:
The younger a person is when they begin consuming alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an addiction to alcohol, those who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than those who wait until age 21.

WHEREAS:
The Survey of Students on Knowledge and Attitudes of Drugs and Health 2012 completed by the Department of National Drug Control provided data to suggest that young people in Bermuda may be experimenting with alcohol and drugs at an earlier age than previously suspected, in some cases as low as 9 years old

WHEREAS:
Parents and adults must put in place practical measures to keep
alcohol out of the hands of young people, by taking alcohol out of the fridge and cupboards and locking it away making it less accessible to our young people.

WHEREAS:
We encourage open dialogue between parents and adults with young people about not drinking alcohol until at least age 18 and about responsible drinking after age 18.

NOW:
Therefore, I, The Hon. Michael H. Dunkley JP MP, Deputy Premier and Minister of National Security, do hereby proclaim that the month of April in the year of our Lord two thousand and fourteen is to be observed throughout these Islands as

ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH

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  1. What the! says:

    Santucci back up off my MP mate!!

  2. Um Um Like says:

    I’ll drink to that.