2015 in a nutshell

Our Grogwatch year for 2015 has come to an end.

We have enjoyed bringing Grogwatch to you throughout 2015 and we have been gratified by the contributions and feedback we received from Grogwatch readers.

Judging by our readers’ response, the main issues that concerned them concentrate around young people: how adolescent children negotiate social worlds in which alcohol is ubiquitous without coming to harm; how young people gain access to alcohol and how parents can limit or control drinking by young people.

The most popular Grogwatch stories, hosting parties for adolescents and preparing teenagers for attending schoolies events, were particularly popular this year, as were articles on whether parents should introduce young people to drinking in the home and secondary supply. That might be explained by the growing awareness of the risks posed to young people by early drinking – of risk to the developing brain and body and the risk of entrenching an early pattern of drinking.

2015 saw some welcome moves by state governments. Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory finally introduced secondary supply laws that legislate parental responsibility for their children’s access to alcohol. We also applauded Queensland for tightening restrictions on trading hours for licensed venues across the whole state, as that will likely reduce alcohol-related harms, including domestic violence and street violence, among other harms.

Community action has to complement legislative change. That is especially true at this time of year, when most of us are partying at work break-ups and family functions. In the festive season, even usually light drinkers are at risk of heavier drinking and suffering injuries and other problems.

We trust our readers will take care looking after themselves, their workmates, colleagues, families, friends, and everybody else, as they celebrate the end of the year. A special responsibility falls on those of us who play host to ensure that, if we serve alcohol, we do not allow heavy drinking to spoil or ruin the occasion. Check out some tips on safe partying and safe hosting.

We wish all our readers an invigorating holiday period and look forward to meeting you here again in 2016.