In Summary

An online intervention program that will encourage smarter drinking choices for 20-24 year olds was today announced as one of the winning entrants of the inaugural VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Alcohol.

The successful project is a collaborative effort involving Swinburne University of Technology and Victoria Police.

Team leaders, Swinburne’s Professor Barry O’Mahony and Dr Neil Thomas said the team of researchers were thrilled that their project was one of four selected to help change Victoria’s drinking culture.

“We are lucky to have a team within Swinburne with the variety of skills needed to develop what we believe will provide the right balance of psychological and social marketing principles to have a positive impact on drinking behaviour,” said Professor O’Mahony.

The program will target young adults whose alcohol consumption brings them into contact with Victoria Police, offering an alternative to legal penalties for offences related to alcohol.

“Our online program will help young people, whose drinking leads to problems, to learn from other young people who have successfully reduced their problem drinking,” said Dr Thomas.

The intervention will feature video interviews with young people who have overcome their harmful drinking habits.

“The program aims to tackle social issues such as the sharing experience and traditions associated with drinking, the identity of a drinker and the motivation of a drinker at an individual level,” said Professor O’Mahony.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechther said the culture of drinking in Australia was beginning to change.

“Over the last decade, young people aged 14-17 have been delaying when they start drinking and people aged 18-40 have become less likely to drink in a way that puts them at risk of injury. However, many people still drink at levels that put them at risk of short and long-term harm,” said Ms Rechther.

“This project from Swinburne University will help change the drinking culture among key groups identified by Victoria Police and reach out to them in an innovative new way.”

You can read more about the project, Peer Modelling: Drinking Culture Change Intervention