Aboriginal People And Alcoholism Essay


Write an essay on "Aboriginal People and Alcoholism".



Alcohol is considered as a psychoactive drug, which is widely used in Australia. According to the survey of NDSHS in 2007, 82.9% of Australian people aged over 14 years old consumed alcohol within last 12 months. According to the 2001 Australian Alcohol Guidelines, NDSHS showed that 20.4% of the Australians consumed alcohol at high risk. According to Saitz (2010), 80% of the total number of the alcohol consumption is contributed by the Aboriginal people in Australia. The indigenous Australians contribute only 2.6% of total Australian population. However, it is found that the health and social problems due to alcohol consumption faced by them are not negligible. According to Salmon (2011), the burden of alcohol-related disease, as well as antisocial incidences experienced by the Aboriginal people, is almost double than that of the common Australian people.

Despite all of these facts it is also important to mention that reporting of health issues experienced by the Aboriginal people especially alcohol related is overwhelming. Today, it is fair to admit that with the evolution of technologies the role of media has also evolved and now become a part of entertainment (Ward et al., 2013). Therefore, in most of the cases, it is found that the facts or evidence are often masked by the media, who presents news in a new "package." However, the role played by media to reach the ears of common people and dig the truth is convenient as well as beneficial for the society. In this paper, it is aimed to analyse minimum five articles, which covers health related issues of the Aboriginal people due to alcohol consumption and evaluate how these articles can contribute to cultural competence in health care.

Article1: Six-month grog ban won't work: Carpenter, June 25, 2007

Key Issues

This article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 2007. According to West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter, banning of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory Aboriginal Communities is no helpful to reduce child sexual abuse. Last week, Prime Minister John Howard declared a list of several steps in order to stop the abuse of children in the Aboriginal communities, which includes mandatory health checks for the children and alcohol ban. Although most of the initiatives were appreciated by other, Mr. Carpenter argued and stated that a six-month alcohol ban is not enough to control child abuse. It is evident that a large number of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia are dry, but the rate of child abuse is not negligible. However, Mr. Carpenter agreed that the presence of police in the community was helpful to address the matter.

Links to models and approaches

According to Hopkins et al., (2012), people who belong to the minority group (Aboriginal community) are less educated and follow their distinct cultures. Therefore, controlling the lifestyle of the minority group is not an easy task for the government of Australia. Although it is noticed that the successful implementation of several laws helped to control the lifestyle of the Aboriginal people, it is not possible to modify them according to the civilizing rule of Australia. Reducing child abuse among the Aboriginal people is, therefore, a critical task but not an impossible one.

How the material affects current debate

Although this article was published in 2007, the matter of this news article is still valuable and related to the current situation. With the evaluation of the current situation of the Aboriginal communities, it can be said that the incidences of child abuse are not rare. The current situation also emphasizes that the steps or initiatives taken by John Howard were not successful to meet their aim. On the other hand, according to a recent survey, the rate of sexual abuse among the children has increased from the last couple of years. Therefore, it can be said that the government needs to take firm steps to control the situation and save the life of Aboriginal children.

Article2: Alcohol bans without support 'inhumane', Penelope Debelle, 2008

Key Issues

This article was published in The Age. Banning alcohol in Aboriginal communities is one of the most critical tasks. Although the government took several initiatives to ban alcohol consumption in the Aboriginal community, it is found that the mission was never fully successful. Banning alcohol in a community without providing supportive services such as suicide prevention or counselling is inhuman. Professor Stanley indicated that this was the main reason behind the failure of the program "close the gap." The project was fully successfully only in the West Australian Kimberley town only after the death of 22 people due to drug or alcohol consumption. Professor Stanley stated that Australia is still a racist country, and the Aboriginal people are the victim of the situation.

Links to models and approaches

According to Perreault (2011), consumption of alcohol is the root of disaster and all of the antisocial activities among the people in Aboriginal people. The rehabilitation program arranged by the government, in most of the cases tastes failure due to the lack of proper infrastructure (Calabria et al, 2010). When the government is thinking to ban alcohol consumption, they need to follow a proper procedure and offer proper rehabilitation program. However, it is recognized that the initiative taken by the government is not only illogical but also inhuman.

How the material affects current debate

With the current political focus, it is recognized that the number of Aboriginal people who seeks rehabilitation and cure from alcohol addiction is very few. In this situation, when media reflects more about the wrong procedures are taken by the Australian government, it generates miscommunication and unrest among the Aboriginal people. The miscommunication conducted by the media by the overwhelming focus on this topic influence the Aboriginal people to believe that they are not much of importance their government.

Article3: Indigenous health: No alcohol debit card backed by Noel Pearson divides Kununurra, Daisy Dumas, 2015

Key Issues

In Kununurra and northern West Australian region alcoholism and drug abuse is a very common incident. The attendance of school is lowest in this part of the country. The Kimberley’s Empowered Communities Group took initiatives and met with Tony Abbott (former Prime Minister) and came up with a radical and blunt economic instrument in order to control the crisis among the Aboriginal communities. According to the plan, eligible personals in this area will receive debit cards, where 80% money will be secured and cannot be used to buy any illegal drug or alcohol. Although this is a trial program, most of the Aboriginal people are against this initiative.

Links to models and approaches

According to the research study of Niccols et al. (2010), the reason behind the lack of development and crisis among the indigenous people is their addiction towards alcohol and drugs. In order to control their expenditure on alcohol and drugs, the government needs to take several steps. According to Razack (2011), controlling the expenditure and saving money is the only way to help the Aboriginal people to lead a better life. Therefore, restrain the personal expenditure by the government could be proved as fruitful to help the new generations in Aboriginal community to lead a better life.

How the material affects current debate

Although the steps taken by the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was still in trial, it can be said the initiatives taken by him and the community is highly controversial. The media played an interesting role to elaborate the good and bad side of this project. However, media also emphasized the feelings of the Aboriginal people and focused extravagantly on the “poor condition” of the Aboriginal people and their “almost cashless” condition. This step encouraged the debate of highlighting their cashless condition and restricting the use of their health.

Article 4: A burden too heavy to carry?, Russell Skelton, 2012

Key Issues

This article was published in The Age in 2012. From this article, it is found that the Northern Territory government is relaxing the drinking laws of the states. According to Mrs. Campbell in the article, it is found that she is a mother of four children and strictly against the relaxation in laws. The moves taken by the government in those regions were not only acceptable but inhuman. The government in those regions also demolished the rules of banning drinkers and necessity of showing ID documents while purchasing the alcohol from shops. The relaxation in liquor laws in the Aboriginal communities is a political move, which is rejected by most of the common people.

Links to models and approaches

According to Conigrave et al. (2012), the government only have the power to take initiatives in order to inhibit alcohol consumption among the Aboriginal people. When the government takes initiatives to relax the laws, which were meant to protect the humanity and reduce the health-related problems due to alcohol consumption, it will evidently lead towards chaos. Relaxation to laws about alcohol consumption is not desirable as it can lead to the deterioration of the lifestyle of the common people of the Aboriginal community.

How the material affects current debate

Considering the current political condition, it can be said that the Australian government is trying their best to abolish alcoholism. However, publications of media, which emphasizes the relaxation in laws that prohibits alcohol and drug consumption, can lead towards chaos (Calabria et al, 2013). May be this news has some evidence, but it is not true that the law relaxation is taking place in all of the Aboriginal religions. Therefore, releasing the news of the relaxation in laws related to alcoholism is not beneficial to maintain peace in all over the country and help the Aboriginal people to lead a better life.

Article 5: ACT budget to provide millions for drug rehab and treatment, Christopher Knaus, 2016

Key Issues

This article was published in The Age, 2016. The ongoing drug rehabilitation program in Australia is going to have additional $6 million in the budgets of ACT in next month (June). However, the oppositions are concerned about the funding, as they consider that this funding announcement is just the re-announcement. According to the oppositions, it is may be “disingenuous” to allot $6 million as fresh money. In recent years, the drug support programs are increasingly stretched and becoming more demanding. Last year the government announced $800,000 in order to boost the program. The program includes combat against drug addiction, alcoholism as well as ice addiction among the Aboriginal people.

Links to models and approaches

According to the study of Carter (2011), it is the government, who can take best steps to control alcohol consumptions and drug addictions among the aboriginal people. However, it is also important to consider the budget of the program. In most of the cases, it is recognized that the allowance of the government for the rehabilitation program cost the government most (Wilson et al., 2010). Declaration of the huge amount of money to encourage the Aboriginal people to lead a better life is very generous but may not be fruitful. The government needs to distribute money among the Aboriginal communities and different programs equally so that it covers all aspects and help the indigenous people to lead a better people.

How the material affects current debate

This piece of news material is very recently published in The Age and currently considered as a hot topic. The allowance of $6 million on the project is grabbing the attention of oppositions as well as the common people. It is found that the unrest is growing among the common people since this program is costing the government more than $17.2 million in a year (Zubrick et al., 2010). However, the result of the program is not satisfactory as the alcohol-related issues in the Aboriginal region are overwhelming.

Personal Reflection:

The author of this article reflected how the government is fighting alcoholism and trying to help the indigenous people. The initiatives taken by the Australian government to help the Aboriginal people is no doubt admiring, but there are several shreds of evidence found in the media that emphasizes that not all of the steps taken by the government are right. Although most of the cases it is found that the media articles masks the truth and presents the facts in an entertaining package, in this case, it is recognized that the selected articles in this topic are helpful to cover all aspects of this issue. The declaration of $6 million for the welfare of the Aboriginal people is not only helpful but also admiring. However, the relaxations in the laws related to alcoholism are not desirable. Relaxation of laws is not helpful to improve the present condition of the Aboriginal people.


After reviewing the media publications on the topic, it can be concluded that all of the steps taken by the government are not admirable. The Aboriginal people in Australia are dealing with more than one problem. Alcoholism is one of the most concerning issue faced by the Aboriginal people. The negative impact of alcoholism is reflected in their society, culture and behaviour. The increasing rate of child abuse and crisis for food is the result of alcoholism and extensive drug abuse. The presence of police patrol car in the community is helpful to control the situation and save the life of the children. However, health security still needs to be considered with highest priority. On the other hand, the relaxation of laws related to alcohol consumption and dealing is not only unwanted in the society but also against the humanity. The Australian government needs to think about the alcohol-related issued that experienced by the indigenous people with highest priority. The role played by the media to enlighten the truth is very helpful to identify the issues of the society that needs to be taken care of.


'inhumane', A. (2008). Alcohol bans without support 'inhumane'.The Age.

Calabria, B., Clifford, A., Shakeshaft, A., Allan, J., Bliss, D., & Doran, C. (2013). The acceptability to Aboriginal Australians of a family?€ђbased intervention to reduce alcohol?€ђrelated harms. Drug and alcohol review, 32(3), 328-332.

Calabria, B., Doran, C. M., Vos, T., Shakeshaft, A. P., & Hall, W. (2010). Epidemiology of alcohol?€ђrelated burden of disease among Indigenous Australians. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 34(s1), S47-S51.

Carpenter, S. (2007). Six-month grog ban won't work: Carpenter.

Carter, T. (2011). Literature review on issues and needs of Aboriginal people.

Conigrave, K., Freeman, B., Caroll, T., Simpson, L., Lee, K. K., Wade, V., ... & Freeburn, B. (2012). The Alcohol Awareness project: community education and brief intervention in an urban Aboriginal setting. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 23(3), 219-225.

Dumas, D. (2015). Indigenous health: No alcohol debit card backed by Noel Pearson divides Kununurra. The Age.

Hopkins, K. D., Taylor, C. L., D’Antoine, H., & Zubrick, S. R. (2012). Predictors of resilient psychosocial functioning in Western Australian Aboriginal young people exposed to high family-level risk. In The Social Ecology of Resilience (pp. 425-440).

Knaus, C. (2016). ACT budget to provide millions for drug rehab and treatment.The Age.

Niccols, A., Dell, C. A., & Clarke, S. (2010). Treatment issues for Aboriginal mothers with substance use problems and their children. International journal of mental health and addiction, 8(2), 320-335.

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